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British Royal Cavalry Set to Impress Visitors.

Summary: ABU DHABI -- With their impeccable uniforms, perfect postures, sense of humour and friendliness, the British Royal soldiers cannot fail to impress and they are here to do just that: impress the visitors of Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition (ADIHEX) with their ceremonial shows.

The 36 soldiers of the Musical Ride, who are performing for the first time outside Europe, are selected every year from the British Royal Household Cavalry, which consists of the Life Guards and the Blues and Royals, the oldest and most senior regiments in the British Army. General Lord Charles Guthrie accompanies the Household Cavalry Musical Ride here as Colonel of the Life Guards. "I bring goodwill messages to all friends in the UAE from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as Colonel-in-Chief of both regiments and from HRH Princess Ann, the Princess Royal, who is Colonel of the Blues and Royals," said Lord Guthrie.

As for the Musical Ride itself, this is not just another military parade. Its history dates back to 1882, when it first performed in public and, to this day, it performs in state and royal ceremonial duties. "Their shows take a traditional form and, of course, it needs a choreographer and a riding master," explained Lord Guthrie, adding that the soldiers on the Ride wear exactly the same uniforms as those worn by the Household Cavalry on parade, but lances take the place of swords. "The 28 horses used by the Musical Ride have to be large and have to be black," said Lord Guthrie.

And all 28 of them took the seven-hour flight from London to Abu Dhabi. Captain Laura Holmes, the veterinary of the Ride, also came along, to make sure of their well-being.

Taking care of the soldiers' performance, introducing it to the stadium and leading it on a horse is Captain Edward Howland Jackson. He joined the Musical Ride this year, as the ride officer, just like the soldiers, are picked every year, or sometimes every two years.

"Before I was stationed in Afghanistan for six months, on armour tanks. It was very cold. Of course, these two experiences are very different. The discipline was harder mentally in Afghanistan, but harder physically with the Musical Ride," said Captain Jackson.

The shows, which might include elements inspired by UAE traditions and which last 25 minutes, will take place daily from today to October 3., at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, from 8 pm. - silvia@khaleejtimes.com

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Date:Oct 1, 2009
Words:424
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