Digger, the horse who grew up joins the Army. Digger, a six-year-old Clydesdale from a Scottish equine rescue centre, has been offered a top job as a drum horse in the Queen’s Household Cavalry. The gelding, who stands 19 hands high at the withers (76 inches), is one of the tallest horses in Britain.
Now, because of his great height and his gentle nature, he has been chosen to train as a potential drum horse by the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment. If he makes the grade he will carry a rider and two solid silver drums and lead the parades on state and ceremonial occasions.
Eileen Gillen, centre manager at World Horse Welfare's Belwade Farm in Aboyne, has cared for Digger since he arrived in January 2008. She described him as the biggest animal the international horse charity had ever cared for.
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.
"It took surgery at the Royal Dick Veterinary Hospital in Edinburgh and many months of rehabilitation before he was well enough to start work.
"I always had high hopes for him but never in my wildest dreams did I think he'd have a Royal calling.
"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.
Miss Gillen said: ""He is a fantastic example of the work that World Horse Welfare does to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome horses. Our aim is to rehome all of the horses that we take in, so to find Digger a home with the Household Cavalry really is a perfect ending."