In July 1978, the 14th/20th Hussars put away their tanks and began training for a dismounted role in Northern Ireland.

In September 1978, the regiment deployed from Hohne in Germany into the Lenadoon, Andersonstown and Twinbrook areas of West Belfast, a hard republican area with an equally hard loyalist enclave. They were the first cavalry regiment to take over control of that area.

A and B Squadrons were based in Woodburn Camp in a burnt-out hotel; D Squadron was based at Glassmullen. The Regiment set out to show that they could cope with the challenge and, while patrolling at first quite aggressively, began to foster good relations with the local population. This was a successful tour, keeping the peace effectively and humanely while not losing any soldiers. The Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel John Pharo-Tomlin, was mentioned in despatches. Although there were no further Northern Ireland tours for more than 10 years, Northern Ireland reached out to Germany in September 1989 when Troopers Steven Costello and Howard Pickering were shot by IRA gunmen in Münster while off duty. Both received serious gunshot wounds.