A horse gifted to the ILPH is settling into a new career with the Greater Manchester police after passing his initial assessment to train as a police horse.
KC, an eight-year-old Irish Draft gelding, was first kept at the ILPH’s Belwade farm near Aberdeen, where he spent 18 months gaining weight and strength. “He was cut late and was quite underdeveloped when he arrived,” explains Belwade’s manager and rehabilitation advisor Eileen Gillen.
“We turned him out on the side of a mountain and it really helped to build him up. We went right back to basics and treated him like an un-handled youngster. He was re-broken and he took to it like a duck to water – nothing seemed to faze him. “
Eileen thought the 16.3 hh bay gelding might be suitable for work as a police horse and recommended him to Chris Williamson, an ex-chief instructor at the Lancashire police mounted branch.
“When I heard about KC from Eileen Gillen, our Manager in Scotland,” says Chris, “I thought he sounded as if he would make an ideal police horse.”
Re-named Marley, he is now the latest recruit to join the Greater Manchester police mounted unit – whose horses are all named after Dickens’ characters – and is undergoing training for a new life patrolling the city streets.
PC Fran Williamson, Chris’s wife, is Marley’s trainer and she believes he is one of the best novice horses she has had to train. “He is showing the potential of being an excellent police horse, he is bold yet calm and has a tremendous willingness to learn,” she says.
Chief Inspector Lynn Roby, Head of the GMP Mounted Unit, adds: “Marley is a fantastic horse and I hope he will become a key member of the team. It takes a special horse to become a crime fighter and that’s what he is.”