In the Household Cavalry Trooper Ezphia Rennock and his loyal mount Agricola were inseparable.
Now on Civvy Street the devoted pair have been reunited in Preston after 12 years apart.
“He looked after me in the Army and now it’s my turn to look after him,” said Ezphia, who kept his promise to buy the horse when it was retired from service.
“We developed such a strong bond during those seven years I rode him. I said I’d go back for him one day - and I have.”
Agricola was pensioned off by the Blues and Royals this year at the age of 23 after almost two decades of ceremonial duties with the Queen’s bodyguard regiment.
Ezphia, 35, put in a bid to buy him and, when officers at his old regiment heard he was interested, they had no hesitation re-uniting the pair. Agricola will now live out his days at luxury stables in Salwick.
“He had a guide price of £1,000 and the system is that if more than one person is interested then it goes down to sealed bids,” he explained.
“I just had to get him, so I made my offer and enclosed a letter explaining my story - the special sentimental reasons why I wanted him.
"When they read it I don’t really think they could turn me down.”
Ezphia, from Preston, joined the Household Cavalry as a 17-year-old based in London. It was his first time away from home and he forged a bond with the horse that remains strong today.
The pair would stand on duty at the entrance to Horse Guards in Whitehall and also took part in numerous state occasions as part of the eight-strong retinue party which surrounded the Queen’s carriage in Royal processions.
“We were heavily involved in the Queen Mother’s funeral and also Princess Margaret’s the same year,” said Ezphia.
“Our duty at ceremonial occasions was to stay within arms length of the Queen the whole day. It is her personal bodyguard and your job is to protect the Queen and the Royal Family under any circumstances.”
Ezphia served with Prince Harry in the Blues and Royals. “He was my troop leader,” he recalled. “He was a good soldier.
"When I left, Agricola was given to another trooper and did both Royal weddings for Prince William and also Prince Harry.
"When I was no longer with him there was always an empty space in my life. Getting back with him has brought closure.
“In the Army a horse is just a piece of kit. But it was a lot deeper with Agricola.
"He gave me smiles on a gloomy day and I want to repay that by giving him a great retirement.”