The Queen's love of horses is well documented, and on Sunday she received some particularly upsetting news. Following a race at Newbury, her four-year-old horse Space Walk had to be put down. The gelding pulled up short while being ridden by jockey Tom Marquand. He quickly dismounted before vets rushed to the horse's side. But it has since been confirmed that Space Walk suffered a serious and had to be put to sleep after the race.
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The 94-year-old monarch's love of horses is a lifelong one. She had her first riding lesson at the age of three and was given her first pony, a Shetland mare, by her grandfather King George V when she turned four. She has been riding horses for most of her nine decades.
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In 2014, she was presented with the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) Lifetime Achievement Award for her dedication to the sport. "Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth is a life-long lover of horses who has inspired millions around the world," said FEI President Princess Haya of Jordan. "She is a true horsewoman, who still rides whenever state business allows, and her knowledge of breeding and bloodlines is incredible."
The Queen has a lifelong passion for horses
One of the Queen's favourite events is Royal Ascot, although the coronavirus pandemic meant that she was unable to attend the meet in June for the first time in her 68-year reign. Many of the thoroughbreds she owns have gone on to win impressive titles, and in 2013 she even made sporting history when she became the first reigning monarch to win Royal Ascot's Gold Cup with her thoroughbred Estimate.
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The Queen is currently on her traditional summer break at Balmoral. The monarch and her husband Prince Philip, 99, touched down in Scotland earlier this month. They took a private flight to Aberdeenshire from RAF Northolt, west London. The couple will stay at their estate with a minimal team of staff members, dubbed HMS Bubble.