A HORSEMAN from near Hartlepool was making the headlines in June 1978 and ANDREW LEVETT looks back at one man’s brushes with the royal family.
AN APOLOGY from Princess Anne, an embarassing moment with The Queen and a tumble down a marble staircase at Buckingham Palace.
They were all incidents that coloured the career of Peter Decosemo in the Household Cavalry.
But they were nothing to do with the Hesleden man’s nomination for the Mail’s Search for Success series.
His mother Mabel put forward Peter, aged 24 in 1978, because he left school without any qualifications but through hard work and a passioante love of horses reached the top of his profession, as a prominent show jumper and equestrian coach.
Peter left school at 17 and started work in his sister’s hairdressing business but hated it and enlisted in the Househiold Cavalry – without telling his parents.
Mabel told Mail reporter Jean Jacques: “After a few arguments we decided to let him have his way.”
In the Household Cavalry Peter was selected for a six-month training course under the tuition of Ben Jones, an Olympic gold medalist.
He then toured the country with the Musical Quadrille Display Team and had a number of memorable brushes with royalty.
The apology from Princess Anne came in the royal enclosure at the Wyle Horse trials when the Princess sipped his coffee by mistake after a canteen assistant got muddled and mixed the orders.
The fall at Buckingham Palace came when he was pushed while lining up for a guard of honour for the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, though fortunately he was unhurt and the royal couple missed the incident.
Rather more embarassing was a show jumping event when he was introduced to the Queen, who promptly asked him the name of his horse.
Peter took a deep breath and replied: “Randy, ma’am.” At that point the horse sneezed all over the royal handbag.
After leaving the Household Cavalry, aged 21, he ran a stable for a multi-millionaire and went to Germany to study dressage before becoming stable manager of the Yorkshire Riding Centre and one of the youngest ever to be an examiner for the British Horse Society.
He is still a riding coach, in south Yorkshire, and wrote a novel about horses, Led by the Grey,
Contact Andrew Levett by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or write to him at Hartlepool Mail, New Clarence House, Wesley Square, Hartlepool, TS24 8BX.