Our police horses have played an important role in policing since 1889. Our 11 police horses continue to provide significant support in the work we do, whether it’s providing high visibility trotting the beat on patrol or helping to control and prevent disorder whether it’s at a football match, demonstration or ceremonial duties.
Here we find out what some of our ex-police horses are up to:
Brunel joined us as a four year old; he worked with and helped teach many of the mounted officers in his time. He retired from the Force in November 2013 at the age of 17. He is now owned by Nicki Pratt at a local yard.
Nicki said: “I have owned Bru since his retirement. During this time he has had a very varied and fun life and we have realised what a very special horse he is and how lucky we are to have him.
"At the start he was amazing at accompanying my young mare Bramble out and about. He taught her not to be scared of traffic, bonfires, crisp bags etc. He has taught my long suffering un- horsey husband the joys of spending time with an equine friend and more importantly to actually ride, so now we can ride out together. We have taken him on fun rides, beach rides, dressage, jumping clinics, cross-country schooling, pub rides and general day to day hacking.
"Owning such a legend as Bru has enabled me to take part in some very special events including Dig for Victory show in 2015 and 2016 and Portishead Carnival, where we took part in the parade as War Horse in 2014 and Mary Poppins in 2016. Brunel and I were asked to lead Portishead Remembrance Day Parade 2015 and this led on to the event I am most proud of, when Brunel and I went to London to take part in All The Queens Horses New Years’ Day Parade 2015.
"I hope we can keep him fit and well to enjoy many more fun years in our family but at the end of the day he owes us nothing and we owe him everything so if he decides he doesn't want to be ridden any more then he will just become a huge expensive lawn mower who likes to come in at night, or when too hot, wet, cold etc. etc.
"We adore our gorgeous handsome Superstar Brunel."
Thomas became part of Avon and Somerset Police in 2008 and was then returned to his original owner, Wendy Warren, in 2014, when he was retired from active duties.
Wendy said: “As soon as Thomas came off the lorry, he recognised his old friend Miles (our retired grey show cob) who was with us when we had Thomas as a youngster. Thomas quickly settled back into our routine at home, it was as if he had never been away.
"My husband Peter takes Thomas out, and if there are more than a couple of people standing on the roadside, Thomas wants to stop and chat. He is always on the look-out for a mint.
"Thomas has also done "nanny" duty with Peter's dressage horse. Thomas takes his duty very seriously, he is always alert and on the lookout for trouble, but doesn't like being behind when they go off for a canter.
"The farrier was here one afternoon last winter and I had just got Thomas out of his stable for him. Thomas suddenly spotted two British Telecom workers in high-visibility jackets working up a pole in our top field. He grew to about 20 hands and thought he really ought to go and investigate. We had real trouble persuading him that it was not an "incident" that needed investigating.
Thomas hates being the last one to go out or come in. He loves his food, polos, and cuddles. His party trick is digging holes in, and rolling on, a newly laid shavings bed! I have to go in and redo it every time."
Beaufort left Avon and Somerset Police in 2014 at the age of 17 after problems with his feet and joints and becoming afraid of going out on patrol in the dark. He retired to HorseWorld, a rescue, rehabilitate and rehome charity.
"Since retiring to HorseWorld he has gone strength to strength and is very much loved by the team. He has become an asset to the team especially when it comes to training other horses. He is used as an escort horse for other horses in training especially in road work. Beaufort no longer wears shoes as his workload has been so greatly reduced since he retired from his police role but wears boots on his front feet when he is ridden on hard ground.
"He is very popular on the HorseWorld adoption scheme and loves to meet visitors on our Open Days. You can see he is in his element when he is in a crowd getting lots of fuss and attention."
Cabot came to us as a nine year old. When Cabot first joined us, we had to overcome his rather irrational fear of bicycles. He served with us for seven years until he took early retirement aged sixteen due to a foot injury.
"Cabot’s current owner is Katherine Hopkins. She said: ”Cabot has been with us for a little over a year now. He fits in like one of the family and has become the ultimate master of mischief. He enjoys light riding and plenty of treats. He has a new best friend in our two year old daughter. They love to wind one another up endlessly. He is definitely one of the family.
"Cabot has also bonded well with our other two horses, in fact they have become quite inseparable. I do however believe they are plotting a great hay theft or something alike as one of them has learned to open all the stable doors!"
Katherine also looked after ex Police horse Yeovil many years ago.
"We had Yeovil for ten years. For six of those we competed in various dressage tests and collected numerous ribbons. His favourite post police activity however was giving jousting a go! He absolutely adored being surrounded by people and became somewhat immortal to all that met him. Still a few years after his passing we get asked about him. He was truly one in a million."