Queens Royal Studs could be in safe hands as Zara Tindall hints
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“[My brother] Peter and I spent a lot of time in the countryside with horses, going up to the stables after school—and probably being shouted at—but I don’t think I looked at my parents and thought ‘that’s what I’ll do when I grow up’.“When I left school, I wanted to see if I was any good before making any major decisions.”The full interview is published in this week’s Country Life, on sale now. Zara TindallCredit:Andrew Ogilvy/ Country Life The magazine is out now It has been the Queen’s lifelong passion, breeding world-class horses with an expertise unrivaled even in the Royal Family. And the future of the Royal Studs may be in the safest possible hands, it has emerged, as Zara Tindall hints she may yet play a part in them.The Olympic medal-winner declined to confirm specific plans to continue her grandmother’s equine success story, but said enigmatically of her future involvement: “You never know.”The question of what will eventually happen to the Royal Studs has previously been unclear, with neither the Prince of Wales or Duke of Cambridge exhibiting as keen an interest as the Queen in horses. Zara Tindall at the Barbury International Horse trials in JulyCredit:PA The Queen presents the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot this yearCredit:Heathcliff O’Malley One newspaper diarist last year raised the question of the future of the Royal Studs, quoting an unnamed “court source” as saying: “Unless the Queen can get young George interested – or horsey Camilla takes the reins – the Royal Stud might end up being converted into tennis courts for the Cambridges.”In the magazine interview, Mrs Tindall, who is married to former England rugby captain Mike Tindall and is mother to three-year-old Mia, also spoke of life as a working mother, saying her current set-up of having eight horses allows her to “balance everything”. “A string of horses this size is ideal, because it means I can ride and look after Mia,” she said.“Life for me is about being able to balance everything; I’m not a person who’s good at spreading themselves and I do have quite a lot of things to juggle.”Speaking of her country upbringing with her mother, the Princess Royal, and father Captain Mark Phillips, she said: “The things I remember are trips in the horsebox, to places such as Chatsworth and Thirlestane Castle, watching Papa show-jumping on the last day [of a three-day event] and then him coming home and letting the horses straight off the lorry ramp for a roll, which would drive Debbie, his groom, mad. Mrs Tindall, however, would have the perfect pedigree, following in the footsteps of her mother, the Princess Royal, and Olympic gold medallist father Captain Mark Phillips.In an interview with Country Life magazine about her career, Mrs Tindall said she was keen to continue starting to train young horses, but ruled out taking on too much just yet.“I wouldn’t train racehorses [in future], but I do like starting off youngsters,” she told the magazine.“The pre-training is probably the most important part, making a horse physically strong enough to cope with its job and that’s what interests me.“I don’t know what will happen with the Royal Studs, but you never know.” Zara and Mike Tindall with daughter MiaCredit:PA Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Royal Studs at Sandringham and Wolferton in Norfolk, and Polhampton in Berkshire, currently contribute to a training programme for around 25 horses racing each season, with the Queen taking a keen personal interest in the development of her horses.Among her achievements includes, in 2013, becoming the first reigning British monarch to win Royal Ascot’s Gold Cup in 207 years of the race.A source close to Mrs Tindall said it was “too much of a leap” to assume any firm plans for the Royal Studs from the interview.Any decision about the future running of the Royals Studs is a matter for The Queen.