Police horse to ‘put his hooves up’ after long career

  • A police horse who served at numerous Glastonbury Festivals, an Olympics, a royal wedding and during the 2011 riots has retired to put his hoofs up in time for Christmas.

    Broadmead, known as “Gordon” or “Gordon Bennett”, served with Avon & Somerset Police’s mounted section for 15 years.

    He joined as a five-year-old and was a “complete natural”.

    “He came in the January and I started in the September, so we were both fairly new to our roles together,” Broadmead’s groom Natalie Box told H&H.

    “He was one of those horses who always look grumpy — if you didn’t know him you would give him a wide berth — but he was the biggest softy going.”

    She added he was hand-reared as a foal, so “loved” human attention.

    “We think that is what made him such a good police horse,” said Natalie.

    “People always ask ‘how long does it take to train a police horse?’ and it is ‘how long is a piece of string’!

    “When I think back to his training, he never had anything he didn’t like, he was a complete natural right from the start.

    “He was great because you could put him in cruise control and he would just walk forward.”

    During his long career, Broadmead served at nearly every Glastonbury Festival, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall’s wedding in 2005, every Badminton Horse Trials, the London 2012 Olympic Games and the Stokes Croft riot in 2011.

    Broadmead was also a familiar face around Bristol in his “day job” and worked countless football matches.

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    Natalie added he has been on both the Bristol City and Bristol Rovers pitches — the Ashton Gate Stadium and the Memorial Stadium — to help with crowd control during pitch invasions.

    The 20-year-old will spend his retirement at a private yard in Dorset, where he will continue to be hacked out several times a week.

    “It is really important to us [that they find a good retirement home,” said Natalie, adding he is the last of the horses who were there when she started with the force.

    “I miss him loads. We work with them for a lot of years, they are like your own horses. He even put in an appearance at my wedding — it was a complete surprise!

    “I feel we have been through our careers together.”

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