With the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, I felt compelled to write something pertaining to Her Majesty.

On hearing the sad news, I wanted to pay my respects by laying flowers at the gates of Sandringham. I decided to decorate one of the last set of horseshoes — worn by Mabel before being retired — with plants from the hedgerows and my garden to represent her love of horses and the countryside. I chose plants at random that appealed to me on the day, and when I looked up their symbolism I was pleased that my instincts led me to choose well. Ivy for longevity, oak for loyalty, daisies and busy lizzies to represent motherhood and petunias for dignity.

Decorated Horse Shoe

Flora accompanied my journey and we enjoyed the half mile walk from the car park (golf buggies were available for those with mobility issues). The atmosphere was peaceful and calm. I was pleased to be able to actually place my horseshoe on the wall rather than the ground. I had a moment’s reflection on the wonderful lady our Queen was.

Her love of riding and horses began with a Shetland pony and never waned. A Shetland pony has been the mascot for the Royal Regiment of Scotland since 1929 when a black Shetland gelding was presented to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders by the Duchess of Argyll. He was named Cruachan, which is the highest Munro in Argyll and Bute and also the battle cry of Clan Campbell.

When the original pony retired, another black Shetland pony with a white star took over the role and was named Cruachan II.

The current pony, Cruachan IV, who is known simply as Four, has been the mascot since 2012 and when not on duty is kept at barracks in Edinburgh. He was sourced from the famous Clothie Stud and was presented to Her Majesty for approval prior to training.

More recently, the cheeky pony tried to have a nibble on a bouquet held by the Queen. Her Majesty told him “No”, and then chuckling was heard to say that they always try to eat it.

Rest in peace, Your Majesty. You will be sadly missed.

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