Head Groom Shares Tragic Reality About The Queen's Beloved Horse, Emma

Queen Elizabeth II had her first horse riding lesson at 3 years old and got her first pony at the age of 4, according to Town & Country. It was a Shetland pony named Peggy, and that was the start of a lifelong love of horses. Her father King George VI was passionate about horse racing, and upon his death, she inherited her father's thoroughbred and racing horses and stables — The Royal Studs at Sandringham, per Forbes. Queen Elizabeth continued the tradition, and she became an expert on horse breeding and racing. She attended every Royal Windsor Horse Show since its founding in 1943, including in 2022 despite having mobility problems, via People. Princess Charlotte paid a tribute to her great-grandmother's love of horses by wearing a small horseshoe shaped brooch to the funeral; it had been a gift from Queen Elizabeth.

Terry Pendry, the queen's head groom, spoke to Horse & Hound in 2020 about some of the queen's favorite horses, one of which was Burmese, given to her by The Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1969 and which she rode for the Trooping the Colour parade for 18 years. Another favorite was Emma, a Fell Pony. Fell Ponies are a native English breed that were once used as pack animals, according to The Livestock Conservancy, and Emma made an appearance on the day of Queen Elizabeth's funeral.

Queen Elizabeth's horse Emma was on the Windsor procession route

Emma's full name is Carltonlima Emma, and she's 24 years old. She was waiting with head groom Terry Pendry along the Long Walk in Windsor on the day of Queen Elizabeth's funeral, and as the royal hearse passed on its way from London to Windsor Castle, Emma raised her right front leg, per the BBC. Pendry said that Queen Elizabeth had ridden Emma for over 20 years, and the last ride was in July 2022, the Daily Mail notes.

As they waited for the royal hearse and as it passed, Pendry told the Daily Mail that Emma "probably had some sort of sixth sense that Her Majesty wouldn't be riding her anymore and she did her proud by standing there so respectfully."

For the procession, Emma had on a white sheepskin saddle, which Pendry said was the queen's favorite, and on top of it, Pendry placed one of Queen Elizabeth's Hermes head scarves which had horses and carriages on it.