Sunday, September 5, 2021

The Royal Way of Traveling . . . Royal Stables, Horses, and Carriages

We visit historical places as much as we can, and this past Saturday, we visited the Royal Stables.  They date back to 1535 when King Gustav Vasa had stables built for his 200 horses.  In 1894, it was moved to its present location, right in the middle of the city.  Buildings here are definitely made to last!

The Royal Stables is a huge complex of beautiful brick buildings.  The architects wanted the buildings to look like medieval castles . . . and they do.  This part of the stables is where people live who work here.  Originally, the top floor was one huge apartment for the equerry of the stables (i.e. the boss of the stables) and was large enough to host dignitaries and to be a "change room" for the royal family when they came to ride.  Now there are smaller apartments but the royal family still uses the change room.

The stable not only stables horses, but also cars.  We didn't get to see the stable of cars because, as our guide said, they are supposed to be incognito, and they are also unremarkable.  This Daimler from 1950 is the oldest car still in use for royal occasions.  It has electric windows and the front windshield can also be opened for a cooler ride.

It supposedly seats 8, including the driver, but it must be cozy!  It's still used on special occasions.
I had to laugh at this other "old" car from 1969.  I graduated from high school in 1969 so it didn't seem that old and actually looked familiar although our family never had anything as fancy as a Cadillac.  It has power windows, speed control, and power steering, along with air conditioning.  Wow!  This car, too, is used on occasion.

But more often, the horse-drawn carriages are used for state occasions and visits from foreign dignitaries.

This open carriage is preferred if the weather is good.  Apparently there will be a state visit from Germany on Tuesday and they are hoping the weather will cooperate so they can use this horse-drawn open carriage.

The interior of the Sjuglass carriage is gorgeous.

Those plush seats look super-comfy!  You would feel like royalty riding in this carriage!

The Sujglas state carriage from 1897 is used for state occasions when the weather forces a closed carriage, rather than open carriage.  The previous two photos show the interior.

Beautiful courtyard with ornate brick buildings on 4 sides.  This horse is enjoying the view.  Not sure why this horse is here because we were told that all the horses were the same bay color.  Hmn . . . what happened to this horse?

You can see the fancy brickwork on these buildings . . . as well as the beautiful horses.

Our brothers Wayne and Eugene, would have loved the huge tack room.  These ornate bridles have gold on them, so you know they are for driving kings. The leathery smell took LeRon back to the tack room that Grandpa Albert Torrie had back on the ranch in Grassy Lake.  

Silver bridles were used for other occasions, including when the Princess married in 2010.

Our guide pointed out that sometimes the coachman rides on the front of the coach and sometimes jockeys ride the left-hand horses while controlling the ride-hand horses with whips.  The whips are used, not to whip the horses, but to gently tap them.

Stables fit for . . . royal horses!  There are 20 horses stabled here.  

The horses are bay in color, tall at about 170 cm, and have calm temperaments.  At least so they say.  I watched these two horses, Favorit (on left and yes, it's spelled right), and Dandy (on right), nipping at each other for a very long time.  They looked like they would like to kill each other, but I'm sure they were just being playful.  Never thought to take a video until they were about finished their playing.

The horses come into the stables at about 5-7 years old and work here until they are 20.  They train for a couple of years before they actually pull royalty around.  They are taken every day for a 15-minute walk to the nearby forested area of Djursgarden, where they are trained to pull carriages and to be around people, dogs, and noise.

My first thought when I walked into the training arena was that it would be awfully dusty.  Then we noticed that it was actually sand mixed with some kind of fiber.  Felt very rubbery.

An upper level of carriages.  There are about 50 horse-drawn carriages or sleighs at the stables.  These carriages are blocked so that their wheels are not on the floor.  This protects the rubber tires from getting ruined from the weight as they sit.

Our brothers, Wayne, and Eugene (if he were still on earth), would have loved the display!

Imagine riding in the snowy landscape with bells a-jingling.  Our guide said that horse-driven carriages, and also people riding horses, were required to have bells simply to alert others that they were coming.

This coach was the prince's coach.  You can tell because the crown at the top is open, unlike the crowns below that have closed tops.  Those crowns are crowns of kings, I believe of Sweden and Norway. 

The funeral carriage looks . . . like a funeral carriage.  Somber.  Not particularly fancy.  I prefer the wagon that our brother, Eugene, was carried in to the cemetery.  Not royal but perfect for a cowboy who had lived a great life.

The "Union State Coach" is the oldest state coach at the Royal Stables but is no longer in use.  It has no brakes and has iron tires.  It was drawn by 4 or 6 horses for state ceremonies and formal occasions.

Elder & Syster Moleff had extra tickets to the Royal Stables and we're so glad they invited us along.  It was so interesting and we had a great afternoon with them.  If you think you're too old to serve a mission, you need to talk with Elder Moleff.  He turns 83 in a couple of months and this is their 3rd mission.  The first two missions were to Siberia and Thailand -- not places for the weak of heart!

That evening we had our Sunday sing-along Saturday instead of Sunday because we had a zoom devotional Sunday night.  We were so surprised to have former Syster Katia Locher from Switzerland drop by (the sister on the far right).  So fun to see her.  And former Elder Rantaniemi from Finland (taking the picture, front left), also dropped by with former Syster Stahlberg (sister next to Katia) from Sweden who served a mission in the Canada Calgary Mission until Covid hit and she returned to our mission.  So fun to have these three former missionaries with us.  Also, we had invited two sister missionaries, Syster Brighton (behind me) and Syster Skelton (on my right). With the Assistants (Elder Bair to my left and Elder Hancock front row far right), and the Social Media Office Elders (Elder Ronndahl to the right of Elder Torrie and Elder Gilbert to his right), it was a cozy group in our teeny apartment.  Had great fun singing together and then eating ice cream, chocolate sauce, and my banana bread and homemade cookies.  Fun times!

Love these 3 syster missionaries, Syster Davis, Syster Birrell, and Syster Lane, who went home in August after 18-months of missionary service at their own expense.

Young Syster Davis is the daughter of President and Syster Davis.  So unusual for parents to be mission president over their own daughter.  She was called to Sweden before her parents were assigned to be mission president and companion in Sweden.  President & Syster Davis both served missions in Sweden in their youth, and had brought the Swedish culture into their home all those years.  President Davis is my 3rd cousin, Syster Davis, Jr., my 3rd cousin once removed, and Syster Davis, Sr. is my 3rd cousin-in-law!  Had to get a picture with my cousins!

A walk in the forest.  Heather blooming everywhere!  So beautiful.

Since I never brought our Scrabble game to Sweden, LeRon broke down and bought a Scrabble game, Swedish style for us.  Alfapet.  A little different but we had fun playing it in an evening when we were too tired to do anything else.

LeRon is not a game player so it was really nice of him to play with me.  My growing-up family played a lot of Scrabble.  My mom and dad used to put two games together and have twice as many letters.  They made amazing words.  I enjoyed playing Scrabble with my kids too but LeRon usually preferred reading a book or watching a movie if he didn't have work to do.


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