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‘End of an era’: farewell to brave retired police horse who played vital role in riots

Tributes have been paid to a “magnificent and loyal” former police horse who has been put down aged 26.

Irish Draught Jack Priday served with Greater Manchester Police (GMP) for 11 years before retiring to the Horse Trust, with four others, in 2011. The gelding was put down on 28 November owing to health issues.

Reginald and Jack Priday

A spokesman for the Horse Trust said 16.2hh Jack Priday was named after a farrier who worked for GMP for 35 years.

“Jack Priday had the most amazing presence on and off duty. During his career he was involved in numerous public order duties and daily patrols in and around Manchester,” he said.

“He played a vital role in major events such as the Oldham riots in 2001, the Manchester riots in 2011, the Commonwealth Games in 2002 and all key football games in the Manchester area. The handsome grey even participated in the “All the Queen’s Horses” Diamond Jubilee celebration in 2002.”

The spokesman said after a “successful and commendable” career, Jack sustained a suspensory ligament injury and could no longer be ridden.

“Jack Priday was a brave and loyal horse who excelled at any challenge he faced, however big or small. It was a sad day for GMP to see the magnificent gelding leave but they knew he was off to live the retirement he truly deserved in the glorious Chiltern Hills.

“When he arrived he was just as handsome as he looked in all his working pictures. It was safe to say everyone fell in love with him instantly and not just for his dashing looks.”

The spokesman said Jack Priday quickly settled into retirement and built up a bond with former police horse Reginald, who retired to the charity in 2014.

“As soon as the two met they were inseparable and the best of friends. Wherever you found Jack Priday you found Reginald. We absolutely loved watching their friendship grow and it offers us so much comfort to know that these two found comfort and happiness in each other,” he said.

“We would refer to the pair as the ‘Blues Brothers’ and their relationship made fantastic stories on Facebook that our supporters adored and loved to follow.”

The spokesman said Jack Priday developed lameness issues caused by arthritis and suffered with canker, a hoof infection.

“Fortunately the canker had always been an illness we had been able to manage and medicate to make him comfortable but in recent months is has become much more consistent and painful for him,” he said.

“In 2018 he gave us quite a scare when he had a seizure in the field. Even though he mentally recovered from this ordeal, unfortunately he slowly started to lose condition and weight. With all these issues combined we made the incredibly heartbreaking decision to let him go.”

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The charity’s chief executive Jeannette Allen told H&H it had been an honour looking after the gelding for eight years.

“He’s the last of four GMP horses to arrive together so losing him feels like the end of an era. He was a huge presence and personality and so perfectly named after another Manchester horsey hero,” she said.

“A very sad goodbye, but many happy memories over a long and wonderful retirement with us. Goodnight big man, thank you for the smiles and your service.”

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