A sergeant from Thames Valley Police’s mounted section has paid tribute to the “extremely loyal” police horse Caesar who has retired after 11 years’ service.
Caesar — an 18.3hh “gentle giant” shire — made his final public appearance at the Thames Valley Police open day at Sulhamstead, near Reading, on 6 August.
It was there he was untacked for the final time in a special retirement ceremony.
Sgt Spencer Kervin told H&H that people were openly “very upset and emotional” on the day and added the huge reaction on social media made him “really proud” of his horse.
“I have been overwhelmed by the love that has been shared through the Twitter page,” he said.
“It is fantastic — it goes to show what people genuinely think of the animals that work for the forces.”
Caesar has now gone to live at The Horse Trust in Buckinghamshire, home to many retired police and military horses.
He arrived on the same day as five other retirees — including Kilsyth and Mull from Police Scotland — who have all been turned out together.
“It was heartbreaking to take him, but it was for all the right reasons — he deserved his retirement,” said Sgt Kervin.
“He deserves his twilight years running in a massive herd.”
During his time with the police, Caesar served on numerous state visits, escorted the Queen at Royal Ascot and was on duty at marches and “hundreds” of football matches.
As well as high-profile events, his day-to-day job was as a patrol horse — his main patch was Milton Keynes, but he also travelled to work across the Thames Valley.
He was the sergeant’s horse for nine of his 11 years with the force and was ridden by Sgt Kervin for three-and-a-half of those.
Sgt Kervin added that the “born leader” had a particular penchant for strawberries, and bought him a punnet as a gift on his retirement.
“He would do anything if he thought he was pleasing you,” he said.
“He will be remembered as a very honest horse — what you see is what you get, a huge gentle giant who was a natural leader.”
His most memorable moment was the first time he rode Caesar as part of the police guard to protect the Queen and the royal procession at Royal Ascot.
Sgt Kervin said he knew his job on the huge horse was to protect the monarch and when he heard the cheers of the 80,000 people it made “the hairs on the back of your neck really stand up”.
“Going past on this magnificent horse — that was a lovely memorable moment,” he said.
“He is a very loyal horse and I will miss him terribly.”
But there have also been some occasions that he will remember for the wrong reasons, where the pair have had to deal with hostile situations.
“He is an extremely brave and bold horse — always the first into a problematic crowd,” said Sgt Kervin.
“We have looked after each other in some very hair-raising situations including when many people intent on causing disorder, have been throwing stones and bottles at the police lines.
“He protected me and I protected him.”
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His fieldmates — Kilsyth and Mull (pictured, below) — have served a combined total of 28 years with the police.
During their careers the pair assisted numerous officers to pass their riding exams and helped with everything from patrolling streets in Dundee to dealing with anti-social behaviour and traffic offences, to policing football games in Glasgow.