‘Heartbreak’ as colic kills retired police horse

  • A charity has paid tribute to an “absolute gentleman” former police horse who died following colic surgery.

    Romulus, a 19-year-old 17.3hh part-bred Shire, based with the Horse Trust in Buckinghamshire, suffered colic signs on 11 January and was taken to the Royal Veterinary College in Hertfordshire for surgery on a twisted colon but died in the early hours of 12 January.

    Horse Trust chief executive Jeannette Allen told H&H she was “truly heartbroken to lose him”.

    “Romulus came to us at 12 years old after serving eight years with Thames Valley Police. He was never sick and was happy out in the field until the colic appeared,” said Jeannette.

    “Before he retired from ridden work at 15, we’d go out once or twice a week to plod round the village. He was a schoolmaster and would act as the wall between the young horse who hadn’t gone out on the road before and the rest of the world – he was fantastic at that. He could have a little thoroughbred mare jumping up and down and he would just stand there, with a look on his face to say ‘it’s a bin lorry get over it’.

    “He was the coolest, calmest, most collected horse. He’d still stop and look down alleyways whenever you went past one or if you went past someone with their hood up he’d stop and look – he was so programmed to be a police horse.”

    Credit Liz Gregg. Jeannette Alen and Romulus.

    During his time as a police horse Romulus provided security for the Queen and served at the 2012 London Olympics. He received two chief constable commendations for his “willingness to work within dangerous and violent arenas” after serving during the May Day riots in Brighton in 2009 and right wing demonstration March for England in 2012.

    “He had a fantastic white stripe right across his forehead which made him stand out – we would call him Adam Ant,” said Jeannette.

    “He was the best horse I’ve ever ridden. I’ve never felt safer on a horse and that’s a long way up to feel that safe. He was an absolute gentleman and a total sweetheart. The most genuine, loving and loyal horse it’s been my privilege to care for and my honour to ride.

    “We are so grateful to the Royal Veterinary College for everything they did for him.”

    PC Timothy Pocock of Thames Valley Police Mounted section, the last dedicated rider of Romulus before he retired from service, said he was an “exceptional” police horse.

    “I would like to state how sad we all were at the section on hearing on Romulus’s passing last week. He was brave and steady in all public order scenarios, yet at the same time a gentle giant with all outside of that arena,” said PC Pocock.

    “His wonderful personality was highlighted by the Horse Trust soon after his arrival. This meant others outside of the police were now able to have the ultimate pleasure of riding this safe and secure gentleman. He was surely missed when he left us and may he rest in peace as he leaves us now again.”

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