‘Best of the best’: two police horses who served together meet up to enjoy retirement

  • A police horse who patrolled Manchester city after the arena bombings in 2017 – and an equine colleague — have retired together to Bransby Horses.

    The charity welcomed 18-year-old Irish draught Captain in July, and this week he was joined by 17-year-old Irish sport horse Steele.

    Captain started his career with Humberside Police and when the force’s mounted unit closed, he transferred to Greater Manchester Police (GMP), in 2013.

    “Although Captain was already a police horse, GMP was a bit of a jump for him; coming to such a busy bustling city with two major league football teams. Regardless of this massive change, he soon showed his bottle and quickly became one of our steadfast, best of the best police horses,” said officer Kate Garside.

    “A gentle giant to handle and a firm favourite with grooms and officers, he was a pleasure to work with in and around the stables and out on the streets.”

    Captain led Manchester City football club victory parades and attended derby matches and various protests. He also served during European football fixtures including Manchester City v Feeynoor.

    “At this fixture Captain led 6,000 Dutch fans marching from Manchester city centre to Old Trafford. During the march fans set off industrial fireworks while chanting under bridges and banging drums. Captain continued to lead the march with everything going on while also offering support to mutual aid horses from other forces, showing them exactly how it’s done,” said Ms Gardside.

    “It is safe to say nothing fazed Captain. So much so that every officer at the unit has done some form of big event with him. He is so trustworthy and brilliant with every rider, regardless of experience. He was also ridden a lot by new officers so he could show them the ropes.”


    Steele, who regularly worked alongside Captain, joined the force in 2010 aged six.

    “Steele was described by his handlers as being ‘in a league of his own’; brave, very athletic, affectionate, intelligent and funny, though he could be feisty following a difficult start in life,” said a Bransby spokesman.

    “Following nine years of service including attendance at extraordinary scenes such as patrolling the city in the aftermath of the Manchester Arena bombing, Manchester Pride, Parklife Festival and the first major potential terrorist evacuation of Manchester United football club, Steele has retired earlier than expected due to failing eyesight.”

    Bransby Horses external welfare manager Rachel Jenkinson said the charity is “very lucky” to welcome the geldings.

    “We hope they enjoy a very long and happy retirement with us,” she said.

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