The British have arrived

DAVE DORMER

, Last Updated: 9:29 AM ET

All things British are being celebrated at Spruce Meadows today.

As is tradition at the equestrian grounds south of the city, the final day of each year's Masters is British Day, with the highlight being the presence of the two remaining mounted regiments in the British military -- the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery and the Household Cavalry.

Coming to Spruce Meadows is a highlight for members of the King's Troop each year, said Maj. Mark Edward, as only the best get to go.

"It's a real treat because it's a break from routine in London," he said.

"We use it as a bit of a reward for soldiers who have done particularly well."

Members of the Household Cavalry also have to earn their way here, said Capt. Ed Olver.

"We have a kit cleaning competition to see who can turn out the smartest looking horse," he said.

"It's called the Richmond Cup and the top finishers, as a reward, are put on the Spruce Meadows team."

Six members from each regiment are at Spruce Meadows for the week, bringing with them full uniforms, including military tack.

Their mounts, however, are supplied by Spruce Meadows -- the only place British soldiers use horses other than their own.

"It usually takes six months to train a horse to wear the state ceremonial kit, to feel the big jack boots and have a sword bashing against their side," Olver said.

At Spruce Meadows, trainers have just three days to get the horses here ready.

"For the horses to get use to it in a couple days, it's pretty tough for them."

Not surprisingly, British Day is Edward's favourite of the week.

"It's a huge honour that they want to recognize that and obviously we're delighted.

"I've met so many people as well with connections to Britain and there's a real pro-British feeling here," he said.

"We've been made to feel very welcome indeed."


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