Queen Elizabeth to buy horse treadmill
Queen Elizabeth is to splash out £130,000 on a treadmill for her horses.
The 90-year-old royal is a hugely successful racehorse owner, and will be able to get her animals in even better condition for their events with the aid of the UK’s largest automatic horse-walker, which is set to be installed at her Sandringham stud farm, the Mail on Sunday newspaper reports.
The 330ft-long oval-shaped piece of equipment will allow just one member of staff to exercise up to 18 horses at the same time, with barriers hanging from an overhead rail moving at a selected speed, so the equines have to keep pace.
The farm currently has an existing walker but it only has compartments to accommodate six horses.
While some animal-lovers thinks the ‘treadmills’ are “invaluable” for helping horses warm up or cool down after rides, as well as helping injured creatures exercise safely, others have criticised them for being “tedious” and “boring”.
Dene Stansall, Animal Aid horse consultant and equine business lecturer, said: “The use of these automatic horse-trainers is not in the interests of the horse.
“It’s like being put on a human treadmill in a gym, but we can control that and stop when we want. The horse has no control.”
However, Jessica Stark, the spokesperson for the World Horse Welfare charity – which has the queen’s daughter Princess Anne as president – insisted the devices are not cruel.
She said: “We use walkers at all four of our centres. We do not consider them cruel.
“They help control a horse’s weight and build its condition.'”
The details of the new unit were revealed in a planning application lodged with King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Council.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said of the plans: “The queen is aware of the proposal for a new horse-walker at the Royal Studs in Norfolk.”
Currently, the world’s biggest oval horse-walker can accommodate 20 horses and has a circumference of 430ft. It is based in Vienna, at the Spanish Riding School.