Horse gets top job in the army

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A giant horse called Digger, who spent the past two years at a Scottish equine rescue centre has just been offered a top job in the Queen’s Household Cavalry as a drum horse.

The six-year-old Clydesdale who was measured at 19 hands high (76 inches) is believed to be one of the biggest horses in Britain.

As a young horse, Digger’s joints couldn’t keep up with his rapid growth, and was taken to the World Horse Welfare charity’s centre in Aboyne, Aberdeenshire, requiring surgery and months of rehabilitation.

Eileen Gillen, centre manager at World Horse Welfare’s Belwade Farm in Aboyne, has looked after Digger for the past two years. She said: “When Digger first arrived I was shocked as I had never seen a horse so big, but he epitomises the term gentle giant. His enormous size and the fact that he was only young and still growing so rapidly were causing problems with the joints in both his hind legs — a condition called osteochondrosis.

Due to his towering height and his gentle nature he has been has been chosen as a potential drum horse by the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment. If he’s up to it, he will carry a rider and two solid silver drums and lead the parades on state and ceremonial occasions.

“The requirements for the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment are that they must be a Clydesdale-type and a striking, eye-catching colour, which his roan coat truly is. They also like the hairy, feathered legs, that stand out.” Digger left his Aberdeenshire home yesterday, travelling south in an extra large horse box for a two year training programme with the Army.

“I always had high hopes for him but never in my wildest dreams did I think he’d have a Royal calling, “she added.

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