The 23 year old Shetland pony, Cruachan III, has officially retired as mascot for the Royal Regiment of Scotland.
For nineteen years he has taken part in Highland games, fairs, the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and numerous Military Parades.
The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders have had a regimental mascot since 1929, always a Shetland pony called Cruachan.
So far there have been three ponies called Cruachan. In 2006, the Highlanders were formed into the Royal Regiment of Scotland.
The tradition of a Royal Shetland pony as mascot named Cruachan continued.
Regimental mascots not only take part in parades and ceremonial occasions, but often live in suitable accommodation in the barracks with the regiment.
This photo shows Cruachan III and Pony Major Paddy Payne leading the Coming Home Parade of The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland, after their tour in Afghanistan.
Cruachan III stands barely 3 feet tall and has an unusually calm temperament. He is a personal favorite of the Queen. She has always requested that he be present at any parades when she is at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
It was at this year’s Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, celebrating the 60 years of the Queen’s reign, that Cruachan III was, again, a star performer.
There were more than 1,000 pipers, drummers and other musicians performing on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle.
Military bands from countries around the world including Australia, Switzerland, Norway, Canada and the US performed during the three-week run.
Cruachan III at front and center
According to Cpl William Perrie, who looks after Cruachan III while on duty, it was the pony who stole the show at the Tattoo for 25 nights in a row.
He added: “Everyone just loves him. Basically he was the center of attention every night.”
This year’s Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo marked the last performance of Cruachan III.
It was now time for his much deserved retirement.
Captain Dougie McDougall is happy to see the 23-year-old Shetland Pony retire from service.
All those at the Redford Barracks at Edinburgh who have cared for the Royal favorite Shetland pony believe that Cruachan III deserves his retirement after nearly two decades of military duty.
Cruachan III will now be relaxing in his own field with long-term companion Islay, also a Shetland pony.
As for the Royal Regiment of Scotland, they are preparing for the arrival of Cruachan IV to begin his career as their next Royal Mascot.
Link: Royal Regimental Mascots
Link: Balmoral Castle
Re-written from Story Sources:
Edinburgh Local News
UK Government on Line
UK Ministry of Defence