Is it safe or advisable to take my 3 year old daughter to see the Queen's Horse Guards?

I can't remember whether the horse often standing out front is a friendly horse that can be touched, or whether it is a mean old police horse who will bite. My daughter has fun feeding handfuls of grass to nice horses and I would only consider this destination worth it if it were advisable to try to pet the horse's snout.

A quick google search did not turn up usable details for me.

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    I just came back from there 2 weeks ago with a 3 year old child. It is usually extremely rushy and you don't really get any significant time with the horse to feed etc. I am not sure even if that is allowed Sep 6, 2017 at 13:42
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    It's a professional working horse, same protocol as a service dog. You wouldn't pet service dogs, or play with them, or distract them, would you? Sep 6, 2017 at 23:14
  • I would if one were on display. Sep 8, 2017 at 0:12
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    @DouglasHeld the horses guarding horse guards' parade are not "on display" they are working to guard that location in the same way that a guide dog is guiding its user. You have given your own answer; you would not pet, play with or distract one of those horses as they are working and not on display.
    – MD-Tech
    Nov 8, 2017 at 11:03

2 Answers 2


The horses used by the ceremonial guards at the London royal palaces are extremely well trained and will not bite or otherwise harm people.

They are working, military horses, and your daughter will not be encouraged to touch them, certainly not to feed them. However the worst thing that is likely to happen to her if she tries is a shouted instruction from the guard.

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    I don't think a guard on a ceremonial duty will shout an instruction to a 3 year old child. They do so for adults but to a child im sure it will be a gentle but firm no Sep 6, 2017 at 16:44
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    @HankyPanky they will shout the instruction to the adult who is with the 3 year old child, and who is responsable for the child's behavior.
    – SJuan76
    Sep 6, 2017 at 23:17
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    The worst thing that could happen is that your daughter gets underneath a horse without anyone seeing her, and then gets trampled when the guards move off! As the answers say, attempting to feed working horses is a complete no-no. If your daughter is too young to understand that, you might be better waiting till she is older.
    – alephzero
    Sep 7, 2017 at 1:46
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    If your daughter (or the adult who appears to be in charge of her) ignores the shouted instruction, they will quickly discover what it feels like to have a guard with a drawn sabre moving to evict them back behind the crowd barrier. These are guards, not characters in a Disney movie. Wanna bet that a terrorist has never thought about putting an explosive device on a three-year-old? Think again!
    – alephzero
    Sep 7, 2017 at 1:52

I was there 2 weeks ago with my 3 year old child who is already learning how to ride and can ride a trailing horse behind a guide in a walk. But I did not take him near the guard horse.

I certainly recommend going to witness the ceremony but I do not recommend taking the child anywhere near the horse at that time for various reasons.

1) The horse is on duty and is going to follow a certain schedule as commanded by the rider.

2) The place is really crowded, you won't even get a lot of room to get very close to the horses.

3) For the child's safety. Going near a horse on duty to pat him/her is never recommended and mostly not even allowed in a crowded place.

This is relevant even to the single horse guard that is always there at the gate. That place is small and visitors are not allowed to go very close to the horse. Even if they were allowed, there is a significant crowd making it difficult to have any significant time with the horse.

There is a Museum (The Household Cavalry Museum) which shows you behind the scenes life of Queen's guards it will be very interesting for the child to get up close to the horses there but there is a glass separator there.

There are riding clubs and stables around the area and you could take the child there to pat or feed the horse, they do not allow a 3 year old child to ride but they don't mind a pat for the horse.

  • I know of the riding club in Hyde Park, but really, stables nearby? I think all the mews have been turned into flats. Sep 8, 2017 at 0:21
  • Wow, there really is a Hyde Park Stables in W2. It does not look like the kind of place where we could walk by and visit peoples' horses -- but can't hurt to call tomorrow. Sep 8, 2017 at 0:23
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    You can walk in. Just that they do not offer any riding services for children under 4. However you can request them to see if your child can meet a horse for a few minutes. If the place is not busy on that day there are high chances they will give you that favour Sep 8, 2017 at 4:10
  • Although riding itself is obviously for a payment Sep 8, 2017 at 7:27

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