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Farewell to ‘one of the bravest’: decorated former police horse put down aged 29

An outstanding police horse of 17 years, known as one of the bravest his force had seen, has died in retirement aged 29.

The Horse Trust paid tribute to part-bred Clydesdale Clyde, who was put down on 4 May, following deteriorating health.

A spokesman for the Horse Trust said the charity had great pleasure in welcoming the 16.3hh gelding when he retired from Thames Valley Police, aged 21.

“In his working career he was an outstanding horse who carried out all policing duties to the highest of standards,” she said.

“Officers described him as one of the bravest police horses Thames Valley Police had ever known.”

Clyde was one of the head horses in multiple state visits at Windsor and was part of the royal procession for The Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002. He served at football matches including a notable Portsmouth fixture in 1996, after which he was awarded the chief constable’s commendation for dealing with extreme violent disorder.

The gelding also worked as the sergeant’s lead horse at Royal Ascot and on his final visit there before his retirement he received a second chief constable’s commendation in honour of his remarkable and courageous attitude, presented to him by The Queen and the Thames Valley Police chief constable.

“Clyde was sorely missed by all who knew him and had the pleasure of riding him during his lengthy career,” said the spokesman.

“‘Officers said he had a fantastic character and could chew his way through anything, it is safe to say that neither of those things changed once he settled in with us at the Horse Trust.”

The spokesman said Clyde loved his retirement and enjoyed “frolicking” with his friends in the field.

“He was a gentleman, and tall, dark and handsome too,” said the spokesman. “He really did have an amazing presence and the personality to match.

“He was generally a laid-back old chap but occasionally would think he was a four-year-old again. He made a lasting impression on all who met him and became a huge hit with all our visitors. He loved the attention and rummaging through pockets to see if people had anything tasty.”

The spokesman said the gelding’s health deteriorated during winter; he suffered with a dental infection and pre-existing lameness issues. Following blood tests it was discovered he had developed small intestinal disease.

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“The heartbreaking decision was made for Clyde’s wellbeing that it was time to say our final goodbyes. We knew with the illness he would soon worsen and that is not what we wanted for him,” said the spokesman.

“A hole has been left in all our hearts. We feel devastated to have lost such a big character, but we will cherish every moment and not forget the happiness he brought to our Horse Trust family.”

Horse Trust chief executive Jeanette Allen said: “Clyde came to us as the longest serving police horse in the UK, which was a huge honour, and he’s been a complete gentleman ever since. He’s made an amazing age and it’s continued to be our privilege to care for this hero for so many happy years”

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