Camilla shares love of horses on trip to veterans’ rehabilitation centre

The Duchess of Cornwall has indulged her love of horses with a visit to a charity that helps rehabilitate veterans through their work with the animals.

Camilla met the team at HorseBack UK on a tour of its centre by Aboyne in Aberdeenshire near the royals’ summer residence at Balmoral.

It was her first visit to the charity, which is marking 10 years of assisting former armed forces personnel in need of physical and mental rehabilitation.

The Duchess of Rothesay visits HorseBack UK
The Duchess of Rothesay visits HorseBack UK

The charity recently introduced an SVQ course for young people struggling at school to help build communication and teamwork skills through horsemanship.

Camilla, known as the Duchess of Rothesay in Scotland, admired an ex-race horse named Brook and patted River, who was fathered by a stallion, Hercules, at Balmoral.

She also met miniature horses Pinky and Patrick before cutting a fruit-topped Victoria sponge cake to celebrate the charity’s anniversary.

Camilla told the gathered veterans, mentors and young people: “I’ve heard so much about HorseBack UK from so many people and organisations, some of which I work with in the south.

“I’m so impressed with all that you do here. Everybody working together as a team, and you get no better team than people working together with horses.

“I hope a lot more people will be able to benefit from this wonderful charity.”

The Duchess of Rothesay visits HorseBack UK
The Duchess of Rothesay visits HorseBack UK

Before leaving the centre, the duchess told staff: “Now I know where you are, I’ll be back.”

Founder Jock Hutchison, 56, an ex-Marine who served with 45 Commando in Arbroath, Angus, said: “I think we were on to a winner – for anybody that likes horses this is not a bad environment to bring them into.

“I was very impressed with her knowledge of horses. I think for any charity to get the support of royalty is a major boost because we are very determined for more people to know what we do and to help more people.

“So it’s a huge boost for us and we’re very grateful to Her Royal Highness for visiting.”