‘It’s the most amaz­ing job’

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‘There have been so many high­lights—per­form­ing the Mu­si­cal Drive in front of The Queen at Wind­sor has to be one of the best,’ says L/bdr Toni Pil­ley, 22. ‘The adren­a­line rush as you wait to go into the arena is like noth­ing else.

‘I joined the Troop to have a ca­reer with horses. Grow­ing up in Sh­effield, I had my own pony, do­ing lo­cal shows, a bit of showjump­ing and cross­coun­try, but I had to learn how to do things the mil­i­tary way. The kit is dif­fer­ent and you have to be able to vault on and ride one-handed, car­ry­ing a sword.

‘I’m a wheel driver for my sub-sec­tion and I’m in charge of our sta­bles. I like to think we’ve got the best sub-sec­tion; we’re con­stantly skip­ping out [the sta­bles]. As soon as you see a poo, it’s picked up.

‘Sher­lock [sta­ble name Nugget] is the horse I ride in the gun team. We’ve formed a real bond. He’s a chunky lit­tle horse, but he’s got a real pop on him and we com­pete in the Ser­vices’ showjump­ing com­pe­ti­tions. There are so many op­por­tu­ni­ties here; I’ve just done my army rid­ing in­struc­tors’ cer­tifi­cate, so I’d like to progress with that.’

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