FMD Army chief meets celebrity Clydesdale

  • Having completed his gruelling task of controlling the FMD crisis in Cumbria, Brigadier Alexander Birtwistle, has been taking a well-deserved break at TV equine stunt trainer Gerald Naprous’ Wychwood Stud, Bucks.

    .Brigadier Birtwistle, who has been made an Honorary Countryside Life Member by the National Farmers’ Union, was the commanding officer in charge of the dispersal of the thousands of carcasses in Cumbria.

    During Brigadier’s short break, he spent much of his time with Ted, a 17.2hh Clydesdale stallion, who featured in his owner’s Sally Anne Oultram’s popular children’s book The Story of Ted.

    Sold at just 12 weeks of old for 100 guineas, Ted’s story follows his remarkable fight back to health after series of life threatening illnesses – he went on become the reserve champion colt Clydesdale at the Royal Show last year.

    Ted’s celebrity status continues to grow. He has recently completed filming for a new TV series Star Pets, and an animated series of his story is scheduled for transmission in the autumn.

    Brigadier Birtwistle, who spent his time riding and long reining Ted, said: “Our two daughters [teenagers Harriet and Sophie] are horse-mad. They have the book and love it. I knew the owner’s father, the real Ted, who taught me much about farming and the countryside.

    “The past two months have been gruelling for me and, paradoxically, mostly spent indoors.

    “It was therefore a pleasure to be outdoors once again with such a magnificent and traditional horse as Ted.

    “The spring sunshine and the colt’s youth give me hope that the British countryside will soon return to normality and once again be available for everyone to enjoy.”

    Following his successful handling of the FMD crisis, Brigadier Birtwistle has also begun a new career as a lecturer and after-dinner speaker and has been asked to speak to vets in USA about crisis management in the autumn.

    Brigadier Birtwisle can be contacted for future bookings on (tel: 07890 884478)

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