‘A true legend’: tributes paid to multi-talented military horse put down in retirement

  • A military horse with a “larger-than-life character” – and talent for showjumping, dressage and tent-pegging – has been put down in retirement owing to an acute bout of colic.

    Rommel, known by his military colleagues as Bob, formerly worked for the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery then joined the Light Cavalry Honour Artillery Company in 2008. During his working career he attended every military parade, including the Lord Mayor’s Show and the British Military Tournament. He also attended various skills at arms displays, where horses perform different skills dating back to when horses were utilised in combat – one of which is tent pegging.

    “Bob could turn his hoof to anything, along with all of his working talents, he also loved his jumping and dressage and spent many hours hacking in Windsor Great Park,” said a Horse Trust spokesman, who added that Bob retired to the charity in 2016 when he began struggling with leg issues.

    Bob was remembered in the military for his “quirky attitude” and former HAC stable manager Caroline Quested said on one occasion he would not load following the British Military Tournament.

    “We held up the dismantling of the tournament for two hours; arena surfaces and stables were all waiting to be moved to Olympia. To remove Bob from this hold up we led him from Earl’s Court through London to Knightsbridge Barracks, just in a head collar as all the tack had been sent back to the yard,” she said.

    “Bob did not bat an eyelid on his trip through London, we even stopped for pictures outside tourist attractions. When we met up with our horsebox at Knightsbridge barracks, Bob proceeded to walk straight on the box. He was very smug, and you couldn’t help but laugh at him.”

    The Horse Trust spokesman said Bob’s zest for life never dwindled in retirement.

    “He always kept our grooms on their toes but, despite his erratic moods, he has been a pleasure to care for in his twilight years and his sense of humour often shone through,” he said.

    The spokesman added that Bob recently developed acute colic which deteriorated “very rapidly”, and despite immediate veterinary treatment, it was decided the kindest thing was euthanasia.

    “We were honoured to have looked after you in your golden years and we’ll miss your cheeky antics and unique zeal for life,” said the spokesman. “May you find peace and comfort across the rainbow bridge, as we find comfort knowing you are free from pain.”

    Ms Quested said Bob was a “true legend and a backbone of the Light Cavalry HAC stables”.

    “He made you smile every day and brought joy to so many people,” she said.

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