UK: A tourist touches the reins of a Queen’s Guard horse and is almost immediately screamed at by the soldier: “Don’t touch the reins!”. She quickly backs off as you would if you were unexpectedly yelled at that fiercely. I have seen this before in other countries when ceremonial soldiers both on foot and on horse are interfered with by curious tourists who want to get a photo with the horse and the soldier who invariably wear flashy, traditional uniforms. I guess the guards are touched quite a lot. You know what tourists are like. There is always one or two who push the boundaries. Although I don’t see a sign saying “DON’T TOUCH THE BLOODY HORSE OR THEIR REINS OR MY BOOTS!!”
When I see this video, I wonder if the soldier needed to shout that loudly which clearly temporarily frightened the tourist. Perhaps it would be better to be a little bit gentler with tourists. It seems that the soldiers are trained to be this firm and strict with tourists because it appears that the tourists take liberties by touching the horses and messing around with the soldiers who are trying to perform ceremonial duties in a very accurate way. And there has to be a certain distance between the ceremony and the reality of tourism.
There was a story about four years ago when a Queen’s Guard soldier pushed a tourist out of the way when she posed for a photo in front of him during ceremonial duties. The moment was videoed and the video went viral on social media. There was a discussion about whether the soldier was right to do what he did.
I guess the soldiers are not just ceremonial but they are functional and you can’t mess around with them without consequences. There is also the issue of safety when touching a horse.
There must be a discussion here though as to whether a soldier can physically push a tourist because in a strict sense it is an assault and this could be a criminal matter. I am sure that the soldiers performing ceremonies are under orders not to push and shove or assault tourists. It’s just too risky legally. But to shout at them to stop touching them or their horse is acceptable but even then, as mentioned, I wonder if they could be a little bit gentler or am I being too soft?
Below are some more articles on horses.