A “bombproof” retired police horse who became the inspiration behind two childrens’ books has been put down aged 26.
Pendle, a former recruit with the Lancashire Mounted Police branch for 15 years, was put down on 31 May owing to health issues.
PC David Palmer-Davies, who rode Pendle from 2005 to 2007, told H&H the 16.3hh gelding was “absolutely bombproof” at all times.
“He wasn’t the biggest horse we had by any means but he was solid and extremely brave. You could put him anywhere, in any situation,” said Mr Palmer-Davies.
The gelding regularly attended local football matches involving clubs including Blackpool and Burnley, and was used for bigger games with teams such as Manchester United, Manchester City and Leeds United.
“He was just Mr Dependable. All the major football matches that have gone on in the north of England, he has been at,” said Mr Palmer-Davies.
“Early on in his career he went to Windsor Park and was ridden as part of the ‘All the Queen’s Horses’ parade in 2003.”
Mr Palmer-Davies wrote two childrens’ books starring the gelding; Pendle the Police Horse, published in 2012, and Pendle the Police Horse and the Stolen Kettle, published in 2014 which are based on real-life incidents and horses.
“One particular incident in the second book was about a robbery at a jewellery shop where I ended up sticking Pendle’s bum in the door of the shop to stop the robber from escaping – that is a true story,” said Mr Palmer-Davies.
Pendle was retired from police work after undergoing colic surgery aged 20 and spent his final six years with Jeanette Taylor.
“Due to his age we decided that it was kinder to let him retire rather than carry on with police work. We didn’t want to take any more risks with him,” said Mr Palmer-Davies.
“Jeanette was previously a groom at the mounted branch and knew him well. She looked after him and still rode him until two weeks ago.”
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The 17hh gelding joined the mounted section in 2002
‘On behalf of the City of London Police, thank you for your service Lionel and sleep tight, big fella’
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The gelding recently suffered a tendon injury and owing to other metabolic issues it was decided it was kinder to put him down.
“Police horses are missed tremendously. We’re not like dog handlers; you don’t get a horse allocated and spend the rest of its service working with that horse. We swap round every 12 or 18 months but you still form that bond, and because so many people have had the experience and pleasure of riding and being on duty with that horse, there’s a lot of people who are so attached,” said Mr Palmer-Davies.
“The horses have a big effect – it is sad when you hear of one passing away. Pendle was special — but they’re all pretty special.”
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