Jubilee Western

jubilee western riding A first hand report from Di Wilson, a participant of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant with Appaloosa Joe Glow. Photography by Michal Toroj / www.camslinger.co.uk

It began in February. An innocuous little letter saying that the APHC UK, AQHA UK and UK PHA had been approached to ask members if anyone had a suitable horse they would be prepared to offer to take part in the Americas section of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant at Windsor in May. We were lucky enough to have in our care 'Joe Glow' an 18 year old Appaloosa stallion who has been a multiple winner of international reining championships and had also taken part in the Golden Jubilee.

His owner Joyce Nutland was very enthusiastic and we duly offered Joe. My son Dan and I decided that we would take Joe if he was selected. Janet Burwood, of Burwood Equestrian, was coordinating the western section in England, referring to America for confirmation of various points. Everyone offering horses had to send a resume of their animals’ experience, height, age, sex etc and following this we were invited to Windsor Castle to meet Major Wallace and Sarah Mac Williams, part of the Horse Power production team. Unfortunately we had just missed Simon Brooks Ward the Pageant director. This was when the magnitude of what we had volunteered for began to dawn. Selected horses and their attendants would have to stay in Windsor for 10 days to ensure enough practise and to produce a faultless spectacle with military precision.

Stage coach

On arrival at Windsor, we were delighted to find that our temporary stabling was of pretty solid construction in the style of American barns. We were sharing our block with some of the Mounties, three horses from Azerbijan and four Paint Standardbreds from California. Our accommodation was in 'Snoozeboxes.’ These purpose built containers were each divided into four en suite rooms with TVs and really comfy beds. They were fabulous and over 3,000 have been ordered for the Olympics. We were living in the 'Global Village' an amazing experience. On the way to breakfast if you said 'hello' to 10 people you could be answered in 10 different languages.

Our western horses were ridden by professional cowboys and Native Americans. Rehearsals were tough and long and many changes had to be made. There was heavy rain and very cold temperatures. It was a common sight to see Cook Islanders or Maoris, anyone from lovely warm countries, determinedly plodding through thick mud in flip flops or bare feet. Many were wearing wellies after a few days!

western riding at the Jubilee

Our display was second on the bill following the Mounties and was introduced by Angela Rippon. It began with two cowboys driving four Longhorn cattle into the arena at the gallop before Joe’s rider, Philip, lassoed one. There were Native Americans singing and dancing to traditional music while a Paint Horse (PP Chips Tommy Girl taking in turns with Kings Classy Coosa each night) and an Appaloosa (Wa Ha Dar) were ridden in full regalia by Man of Many Lightenings and Stabs Down. They were followed by the Riata Ranch Cowboy Girls with a fabulous and energetic display of rope skills. We also had a pony express rider who galloped in, leapt off one horse and leapt onto another then galloped away. These horses changed a bit but included Quarter Horses Heir To Snipper, Jays Master Copy and Jackll Showem. Then came the spectacular entrance of the Californian stage coach pulled by four the stunning Standardbreds. The display ended with Jays Master Copy and Joe spinning to 'Duelling Strings.’ It was thrilling for us and was greatly appreciated by the audience!

The Pageant finished at about 11pm every evening and after seeing to the horses lots of people went to the participant’s café, a huge marquee, where every night three different groups of participants entertained the rest of us by singing and dancing. It was an amazing kaleidoscope of culture.

Roping display

This unbelievable experience was almost too much to take in. We watched Inuits, Cossacks, Maoris (including a face to face Hakka experience), Aborigines, Zulus, Cook Islanders, the New Zealand Army Band and many others. Nights of pure pleasure! Most of us stayed up till two or three in the morning every night. You could either party or have fantastic conversations with amazing people. I have to tell you that on the last night, which was attended by HM the Queen, producer Simon Brooks Ward told us all, ‘We have a very happy Queen!' It was a perfect end to an incredibly privileged experience!

UK Horses and Attendants

  • Janet Burwood with Quarter Horses Pass Into The Future and Jackll Showem
  • Sharon and Danni Hutley with Quarter Horse Heir To Snipper
  • Mel Prichard with Appaloosa Wa Ha Dar
  • Beverli Rhodes and Dr Beckham with Paint Horse PP Chips Tommy Girl
  • Cris Richards with Appaloosa Amman Valley Wa Ha Star and Paint Horse Kings Classy Coosa (supported by Amy Wildey)
  • Lou Tallintyre with Quarter Horse Jays Master Copy
  • Di and Dan Wilson with Appaloosa Joe Glow (owned by Joyce Nutland)