From the Stars and Stripes archives

Reagan, queen saddle up for a ride at Windsor Castle

President Ronald Reagan and Queen Elizabeth II, out for a ride at Windsor Castle in 1982.


By ART BARNES | STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 9, 1982

WINDSOR, England — With more cameras grinding than when he rode off into the Hollywood sunset with Custer's cavalry, President Reagan went for a canter with Queen Elizabeth II Tuesday morning in the private Home Park of Windsor Castle.

Emerging from the royal stables, the queen and president rode a pair of sleek-coated black stallions for the scheduled hour-long trek. Prince Philip and Mrs. Reagan followed the pair in a highly polished four-person carriage drawn by four bay horses with brass decorated harnesses.

Expertly driving the carriage, Prince Philip broke away from the riders to take Mrs. Reagan on a separate route through Windsor Great Park.

The royal Master of the Horse put the president aboard an 8-year-old stallion named Centennial, a gift to the queen from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

The queen was riding her 20-year-old horse, Burmese, on which she rode last year at the trooping of the color when a man in the crowd fired blanks, causing the horse to bolt. Queen Elizabeth, an accomplished horsewoman who raises thoroughbreds, managed to hold her horse even though she was riding side saddle and remained regally cool.

Reagan, riding high in a British saddle he specifically asked for, was decked out in a snappy tan riding suit with a formal jacket, which is unusual for him.

The queen chose a tweed hacking jacket, jodhpurs and a head scarf, forgoing the formal attire and side saddle of more official occasions.

After a 30-second photo session with the White House and European press corps, the party set off into a midmorning mist for the eight-mile trot — with the inevitable security men also on horseback.

Joking with reporters, Reagan made a gesture as if he were going to bound over the fence holding them back and said, "Better get out of the way. I'm going to ride on over."

The hour-long ride was modest by the royal standards of this establishment, where Mad King George III used to keep his weight down by doing 80 miles a day and even rotund Queen Anne, who had to be hoisted on pulleys into the saddle, was good for 50 miles.

Several hundred tourists peeked through the park gate at the most unusual riding party to come out of the West since Buffalo Bill brought his troop to Windsor to perform for Queen Victoria.

President Ronald Reagan and Queen Elizabeth II, out for a ride at Windsor Castle in 1982.

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