Londoners may have done a double take this morning (15 November 2017) when they spotted two pint-sized ponies on the beat in the capital.
With just under a month to go until this year’s Olympia Horse Show (12-18 December 2017), the event’s official charity, Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony, sent their two favourite live mascots, Shetlands Doris and Teddy, to London for the first time to help the Mounted Branch of the Metropolitan Police on patrol.
Teddy and Doris might have been able to fit underneath the police horses’ legs with ease, but they looked pretty nonplussed by their new role.
As they headed onto the Mall and towards Buckingham Palace, the Shetlands kept up a steady pace with Merlin and Quixote — two of the police horses who will be taking part in the mounted police activity ride at Olympia next month.
“This is the first time Teddy and Doris have been to central London, so it is great they could familiarise themselves before Olympia Horse Show starts in December. Doris was Hannah’s own Shetland and meant the world to her,” says Alice Goring, owner of Instagram sensation Teddy the Shetland and also the charity’s scientific advisor.
“I am not sure they are quite ready to join the police force yet; they only have little legs, so it would take them a long time to get around all the streets of London! But we are so grateful to Inspector Simon Rooke for letting them be part of his incredible team for a morning and helping to raise awareness for Hannah’s legacy.”
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“We were really pleased to welcome Doris and Teddy to the team this morning,” says Inspector Simon Rooke. “They might not be the usual type of horse we have on patrol, but they certainly added something different!
“The Metropolitan Police activity ride are extremely proud to be performing in front of the wonderful crowds at Olympia this year. The show gives us an opportunity to demonstrate the extraordinary bravery of our horses and the unique bond of trust they have with our officers. The horses that will be performing at Olympia, including Merlin and Quixote, are all operational and patrol the streets of London daily.”
Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony was founded by the late Hannah Francis, a young event rider who was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer. The charity aims to support vital research into osteosarcoma, together with granting Willberry’s Wishes to seriously ill people with the aim of enriching their lives through equestrian experiences.