I’m feeling a bit under the weather so I’m posting two stories from Horse and Hound. (THANK YOU, HORSE AND HOUND!)
London’s longest-serving police horse has died aged 22.
Bugsy, a “brave and loyal” 18hh piebald, was put down earlier today (Friday 21 August).
Officially known as James, after ex-Commissioner James Hart, the horse joined the City of London Police in 2004.
He was the first piebald horse to serve with the police.
In recent years Bugsy had suffered from ringbone and sidebone, which had grown progressively worse.
Today vets decided to put him down due to the condition.
Bugsy was involved in all the major deployments of police horses in London over the past 11 years, including the G20 protests in 2009, the student demonstrations in 2009 and 2010, the London riots of 2011, the 2012 Olympics, Trooping the Colour and the State Opening of Parliament.
He was also at every Lord Mayor’s Show during the past decade.
In 2014, he escorted the Lord Mayor’s coach at the Lord Mayor’s Show.
City Police said he was a “very steady and solid” horse that mentored the new recruits.
He also had a “calming presence,” but a “cheeky side”.
“He wasn’t just our biggest horse — he was one of the biggest personalities too,” said Jesse Wynne, a sergeant in the mounted branch.
“He was a ladies’ man, and had a real distrust of men, and sometimes used to do a runner up the yard while they were tacking up.
“He also had a real love-hate relationship with our farrier, and point-blank refused to be shoed at Wood Street Police Station. He only allowed the farrier anywhere near him at Bushy Park Stables, the Force’s satellite stables in Surrey.”
Bugsy loved tomatoes. He was also known for his love of a good shoulder scratch, keeping officers as scratching slaves until he was happy.
“He was greatly loved by all officers and staff and his loss will be felt deeply,” added Sergeant Wynne.
A member of the public who saved a police horse from a savage dog attack “was overwhelmed” to be given an award for his bravery.
David Wilson received the British Horse Society’s Sefton award earlier this month (12 October).
Mr Wilson was working in Greenwich Park on 22 January 2014 when he saw the incident happen.
The young police horse called Quixote was in training with the Metropolitan Police when he was attacked by a loose French bull terrier cross Staffordshire bull terrier.
Mr Wilson ran over and “rugby tackled” the dog, holding it to his own chest until the owner put it on a lead.
“It was a situation that needed stopping. No-one was doing anything at the time and I felt I had to do something,” he said.
“I was just doing what felt right at the time, so it’s really nice to get some appreciation for it.”
The attack meant his training took longer to compete but he is now a fully-fledged police horse stationed in Whitehall.
Mr Wilson was reunited with Quixote when he was presented with the Sefton award at the Household Cavalry’s mounted regiment’s barracks in Knightsbridge.
“Considering what could have happened to him — he could have been completely traumatised — it’s fantastic to see him out on ‘the beat’ and doing so well,” he said.
Alistair Blamire, a horse trainer for the Metropolitan Police who was riding the horse when the attack happened said: “It is superb to see Quixote here today, as it is to see David again and to have the opportunity to thank him.”
Nuala Preston from Pembrokeshire also received a Sefton Award this year for her hard work and dedication to improve equestrian safety across Wales.
The Sefton Awards were set up by the BHS in 1990 as a legacy to Sefton, the Household Cavalry horse who survived the IRA bombings in London in 1982.
HAVE A GREAT TUESDAY!