‘A Star in a Storm’: final farewell to award-winning police horse after long retirement

  • Tributes have been paid to an award-winning police horse who has been put down aged 28 after sustaining a tendon injury.

    Sawley was part of Lancashire Police’s mounted unit for 16 years, retiring to The Horse Trust in 2017.

    “Sawley was a striking presence and although he had to be tough to get the job done, in his down time he was a sweet spirit who made plenty of friends, both human and horse, in his retirement and out on the beat,” said a spokesman for The Horse Trust.

    Sawley’s passport name was “Star in a Storm”.

    “He certainly lived up to this name during his career, not only partaking in local patrols and public order work at football matches but also helping out other constabularies further afield, having attended Old Trafford, anti-fracking and English Defence League marches, and Appleby Horse Fair in 2010,” said the spokesman.

    “During ceremonial events such as the Remembrance Sunday parade, Sawley would be in the lead and he attended the switch-on of the Blackpool illuminations on several occasions.”

    Sawley had two “claims to fame”, an appearance on Crimewatch, and winning the horse of the year award at the 2010 charity Blue Lights show, for those who worked in the emergency services.

    “Sawley was known as a superstar. He had a fantastic policing career and served tremendously. He was like a father figure to the younger recruits,” said the spokesman.

    “Unfortunately an ongoing lameness issue meant that Sawley was ready to retire after 16 years’ service and he made his way to the grassy pasture here at The Horse Trust to live out the rest of his days in comfort.”

    The spokesman said Sawley settled into retired life quickly, and he made firm friends with Stanley, a former resident of the Gaddesden Place Riding for the Disabled Association group.

    “Sadly after several years of peaceful retirement, Sawley ruptured a tendon and due to the pain, it was decided to say goodnight for the final time,” he said.

    “We thank Sawley for his dedicated service and are glad that we were able to give him such a restful and caring retirement here at our Home of Rest for Horses. While his loss will be greatly felt by us all, we know that he will bravely trot across the rainbow bridge to be free of pain for ever more.”

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