Two Pembrokeshire horses have joined their history-making stable mates today, Wednesday, as they have left the county to join the Household Cavalry.

Farmyard favourites at the Dyfed Shire Horse Farm, Merlin and Jonesy, left the farm with the British Army today.

Western Telegraph: A final stroke goodbye for Jonesy

They will now travel to England where they will follow in the footsteps of three other Dyfed Shire Horses who have made their name in the King’s Household Cavalry.

Western Telegraph: Jonesy is off to join the King's Household Cavalry.

As part of their training Jonesey will learn to be ridden with reins operated by the stirrups, while carrying an adult in full ceremonial uniform, along with the two silver kettledrums.

Merlin has been earmarked for a slightly different role but they will both also learn to cope with crowd noise and be confident to stand out in front and lead the band.

Jonesy, who stands at nearly 19 hands high at three years old, came to the farm from Yorkshire as a two to three month old foal in May 2020. Described as full of character and mischief.

Western Telegraph: Jonesy will be trained as a drum horse.

Farm matriarch, Enid Cole, said she had never seen a foal so big in her life. He was all legs. He settled well into farm life palling up with another horse, Atlas. The pair were described as the Morecambe and Wise of Eglwyswrw.

“He’s got the character to do well in London,” said the farm’s Mark Cole. “He loved being the centre of attention. He will lap it up.

Merlin was born on the farm and is now nearly six years old. When he was five weeks old the farm had a Royal visit from the then Prince Charles and Camilla. Camilla was asked to help choose his name and so named him Merlin.

Western Telegraph: Merlin will be trained for a role no Shire has held before.

Merlin was the farm’s in-house stallion at the farm until very recently, so leaves behind a legacy of children.

Standing at over 18 hands high, he will be trained s something other than a drum horse and if he passes his training will be the first Shire horse to take on this important role in the British Army.

“He is good, lovely and self-confident,” said Mark. “He is a beautiful boy and he knows it. He has been a very popular member of our family.”

Western Telegraph: Merlin gets a manicure before heading off.

Both horses will now go to Melton Mowbray for training before being stabled in London. The agreement is that, when their working life is over, they will retire back to the Shire Horse Farm in Eglwyswrw.

“Here we go again. A new story begins for two of our lovely horses on the farm,” said Mark. We know that they will do fantastically well in London. They will be missed but we are very proud.”

Farm owner Huw Murphy added:

“It’s a proud day for us as a farm and for our rural community in north Pembrokeshire. We know they will be so well looked after.

“We as a farm always follow their progress. The success of a horse is a success for us and for the local area.”

The horses follow three predecessors to the Household Cavalry; Majors Mercury, Apollo and Juno.

Major Mercury, born Dyfed Grey Celt , was the first horse to leave the farm for London in 2008 to begin training with the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment in October 2008.

After his initial training at the defence animal training regiment in Melton Mowbray, he was then posted to Hyde Park Barracks, where he passed out of training in 2010 and began his life serving in the band of The Household Cavalry.

During his 11-year service Celt, whose official name in the cavalry was Mercury, delighted audiences from all over the world during ceremonial events including more than eight Trooping the Colour, the world-famous Musical Ride in Morocco and providing state escorts to national leaders.

He was laid to rest at the Shire Horse Farm after his death in 2021.

He was followed by Ed, now known as Major Apollo who has played important roles in state events such as the Queen’s funeral, the King’s coronation and Trooping the Colour.

Willa Rose, now known as Major Juno, has also been a history-making horse.

Born on the Dyfed Shire Horse Farm in Eglwyswrw in May 2013, the fourth generation of the Dyfed shire bloodline began by John Rees Lewis, 40 years ago, she is the first ever mare to become a drum horse in the Household Cavalry.

Last June she became the first female drum horse ever to carry drums for the Household Cavalry at Trooping the Colour.

At the same event Major Apollo also made history as the only shire horse to have performed at HM The Queen's Platinum Jubilee and final Trooping the Colour last June, at her State Funeral in September, at King Charles III's Coronation in May and then at the first King's Trooping the Colour since 1951.

In a history that goes back to the reign of King Charles II and the restoration of the 1660s, it is likely that they were the first pair to have performed as Drum Horses in the same Trooping the Colour parade, to have come from the same farm.

It is hoped that Merlin and Jonesy will follow in the footsteps of these history-making horses.