‘Gallop pain-free, sweet girl’: farewell to grey Shire who led The Queen’s funeral procession

  • A grey Shire police horse who led The late Queen’s funeral procession has been put down after a short but happy retirement.

    The former Thames Valley Police (TVP) horse, who led Her late Majesty’s cortege on the Long Walk at Windsor Castle in September 2022, was aged 13. The 18hh mare retired to The Horse Trust after the funeral, her last deployment, owing to soundness issues.

    “Although Aurora had only been with us a short while, she instantly found favour with our team and amongst our supporters who met her on the yard when visiting,” a Horse Trust spokesman said.

    “Aurora served TVP valiantly throughout her career and attended all mounted deployments including football matches, demonstrations, royal escorts, neighbourhood policing patrols, school visits and music concerts. She also participated in mutual aid events, attending football matches in both Leicester and Brighton.”

    The spokesman said that although she enjoyed her work and was an “exemplary” police horse, her ongoing lameness issues led to her retirement.

    “Fitting straight into our herd of retirees, Aurora made many friends both equine and human due to her placid nature,” the spokesman said. “Her gentle character and striking size and beauty made hers a popular stable door for our visitors to linger at, as Aurora almost always had her head out and was ready for the strokes and adoration she so deserved in her retirement.

    “A grey Shire horse standing at 18hh, Aurora could be spotted in the field easily like a glorious marble statue, both stoic and stunning.”

    Picture by The Horse Trust

    The spokesman said Aurora’s issues worsened, and although she was closely monitored by the charity’s vet, she then sustained a ruptured ligament.

    “Due to her other diagnoses and sheer size, this severely limited her prognosis and any treatment options available would have severely impacted her quality of life,” he said.

    “Therefore, it was decided to let Aurora be at peace and run pain-free across the rainbow bridge. While her time with us was shorter than some, she certainly made a massive impression on the team and our supporters. We are grateful to have been able to give her time to enjoy the fresh air, roll in plenty of mud and run freely with other horses during her time here at The Horse Trust. Rest in peace, sweet Aurora.”

    A TVP spokesman added: “Aurora had such a sweet nature, she was another big gentle giant of ours who generally looked after the newer riders but always did a good job of keeping us on our toes.

    “We cannot thank The Horse Trust enough for the wonderful retirement she got to enjoy and how well she was treated. Gallop pain-free sweet girl and thank you for your service.”

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