A ‘giant of a horse, with a giant heart to match’: farewell to police horse who protected The late Queen

  • The life of a “legendary” 18.2hh Shire police horse, who provided close security to The late Queen, has ended aged 23.

    Caesar retired to the Horse Trust in 2016 from Thames Valley Police following 10 years’ “dutiful service”.

    The gelding was originally named Oliver and it had been planned for him to pull carts at county shows, but his life took a “completely different turn” when he joined the force, where he was given the name Caesar.

    A Horse Trust spokesman said Caesar “lived up to his new title”, and “took to police work naturally”. During his career he attended public order commitments nationwide, and he was regularly recognised.

    “Caesar was often deployed to assist with various security operations involving the Government and counter-terrorism patrols at identified target locations,” said the spokesman.

    “Another of his important roles each year was providing close protection security for The late Queen at Royal Ascot during the royal procession.”

    PC Laura of the Thames Valley Police mounted section said she was “in awe of the huge gentle giant” when she joined the force.

    “With a jet-black glossy coat and feet the size of dinner plates, his sheer size was incredibly imposing, yet underneath he was a big softie with a liking for strawberries,” she said.

    “I only had the pleasure of working with this incredible horse for a couple of years but have so many fond memories of shadowing him as he looked after our then sergeant at operational events across the force.”

    Laura led Caesar during his “unsaddling ceremony” at the Horse Trust in August 2016.

    “With content tears in my eyes, I knew that Caesar had more than earned this relaxation after a busy career with us,” she said.

    The Horse Trust spokesman said Caesar had more than seven years of “peaceful and well-deserved” retirement.

    “He enjoyed continuing his celebrity lifestyle without the day job,” said the spokesman.

    “Caesar was the face of our sponsorship scheme, and his many fans have supported his retirement throughout his life in Buckinghamshire. Because of his popularity, he had his own ‘Caesar Sunday’, when enthusiasts would gather at the Home of Rest for Horses to meet him.”

    Caesar was put down owing to deteriorating arthritis, which had been “carefully managed” by the Horse Trust’s veterinary director.

    “As Caesar’s condition deteriorated, he began to struggle to lie down and get back up, especially due to his size. The equine care team noticed that this was becoming more frequent for Caesar and after a few incidents of him needing encouragement to stand, it was decided that to protect his quality of life, the kindest thing to do was to say goodbye to Caesar for the final time,” said the spokesman.

    Horse Trust chief executive Jeanette Allen said everyone at the charity is “deeply saddened by the loss of the mighty Caesar”.

    “This giant of a horse, with a giant heart to match, had over seven amazingly happy years here and we are so grateful and honoured to have been able to give him such a wonderful retirement,” she said.

    “I’ve known him for almost as long as I’ve been here, having first met him at the Thames Valley Police stables where he was very much the section’s glorious equine leader. I fell head over heels for him on that first meeting and although it was absolutely the time to let him rest, I’m so relieved I got to say goodbye to him with a nose rub. My heartfelt thanks go out to the team here for his amazing care and to his army of dedicated sponsors who will be as bereft as we are.

    “A real-life mighty steed who leaves behind a truly mighty legacy of love and admiration.”

    PC Laura added on behalf of Thames Valley Police the mounted section was “deeply saddened to learn of the loss of our dear old faithful friend”.

    “We are incredibly grateful to the Horse Trust that he was able to enjoy such a happy retirement. Gallop free now Caesar and thank you for your service,” she said.

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