Hot trotters! Even the Queen's horses get a special polish ahead of her birthday salute


Royal treatment: Horses of the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery have their hooves painted prior to an inspection in London's Wellington Barracks in preparation for the 2012 State Ceremonial tomorrow

In what is set to be a big year for the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery, practice will have to make perfect.
The coming months will see the ceremonial unit take centre stage for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, Trooping the Colour and the London 2012 Olympics.
And as riders and horses from the King's Troop prepared for the Queen's birthday, they appeared - for the most part - a well-oiled machine.
At Hyde Park's cavalry training ground in London, the troop took part in the Major General's Inspection ahead of the 2012 State Ceremonial.
Fifty-four riders, 72 horses and six guns from the unit, which is based in central London's Wellington Barracks, turned out for yesterday's majestic display.

On the charge: Fifty-two riders, 72 horses and six guns took to the cavalry training ground in Hyde Park

Tomorrow will see the firing of a Royal Salute to celebrate the Queen's private birthday, before the Trooping of the Colour marks her official birthday in June.
The King's Troop are called upon for a wide range of state occasions, hauling their First World War-era 13-pounder guns to salutes usually held in Hyde Park or Green Park.
The unit, which was established by George VI in 1947, also takes part in state and military funerals and was responsible for carrying Princess Diana's coffin in 1997.
Riders had to contend with muddy conditions yesterday, after a wet week made for a soggy surface - and with the April showers set to continue throughout the weekend, the weather could well dampen spirits for the main event.

Well-drilled: Members of the King's Troop march on foot during the Major General's inspection

Firepower: The unit line up their six ceremonial guns. This will be busy year for them, with duties including the Diamond Jubilee, Trooping the Colour and the London 2012 Olympics

Three by three: The riders file across the cavalry training ground ahead of tomorrow's Royal Salute

Regal in coral: The Queen attended the Newbury race today ahead of her birthday tomorrow

source: dailymail