Royal Mail is saluting the contribution horses make to working life in the UK. The set of six will include horses from the Riding for Disabled Association, The King's Troop Ceremonial Horses, Dray Horses, Royal Mews Carriage Horses, Police Horses and a Forestry Horse.

Andrew Hammond, Royal Mail Stamps, said: “Throughout human history, the horse has often been at the centre of events. Today the horse still contributes greatly to society, from practical and recreational uses to the leading ceremonies of state. Royal Mail is delighted to mark the contribution working horses make to British life.”

The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, a British Army mounted unit, is responsible for firing Royal Salutes on State occasions. It provides a gun carriage and a team of black horses for State and military funerals, and performs the duties of the Queen’s Life Guard at Horse Guards Parade for one month every summer. The 111 horses of The King’s Troop are based at the unit’s purpose-built equestrian facility at Woolwich Garrison in south-east London.

The Royal Mews Carriage Horses are integral to ceremonial events as well as various State functions and Royal occasions. Of the 30 horses working at the Royal Mews there are 10 Windsor Greys, which have drawn carriages for the Royal Family since Queen Victoria’s reign, and 20 Bays.

The Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) has been building on the bond between horses and humans since the 1960s. Today, over 500 volunteer groups enable around 30,000 people with disabilities to enjoy riding, carriage-driving, vaulting and showjumping at RDA centres every year.

Brewery dray horses are no longer as common due to faster options, but some companies still rely on their ability to negotiate busy city streets avoiding traffic jams or handle the rounds for smaller country breweries. For strength, size and beauty, Shire horses have always been a popular choice and a few breweries keep promotional show teams that are a popular sight in parades and summer fairs around the country.

The working role of the police horse began in the late 18th century, originally as a means of coping with highwaymen. The 21st-century police horse is more likely to handle crowd control at large events, but also offers an effective means of community policing as an imposing but approachable presence on the streets. A police horse is usually impressively large and undergoes rigorous training to ensure a calm and responsive attitude under pressure.

Forestry horses are able to negotiate sensitive woodland environments with minimal ecological impact. This means timber can be extracted without compacting soil or causing injury to standing trees and wildlife. Stocky breeds, such as the Dales and Fell Pony, as well as larger draught horses, excel at this sort of work. It also offers a lifeline to breeds at risk, such as the Clydesdale and the Suffolk Punch, by providing a role for the future.

The stamps are available from online at www.royalmail.com/workinghorses, by phone on 08457 641 641 and in 10,000 Post Offices throughout the UK.