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Heartbreak as Met police horse of 12 years put down aged 25

A kind-natured Met police horse who found her “niche” teaching officers to ride has been put down in retirement, aged 25.

The Horse Trust paid tribute to 16.2hh mare Cumbria, who was put down on 21 May, following lameness issues.

A spokesman for the charity said staff were “blown away” by the mare when she arrived in December 2011 after 12 years’ service with the Metropolitan Police (Met) mounted branch.

“Cumbria had a colourful career, starting work as an operational horse patrolling the streets of London,” she said.

“Unfortunately in 2002 she retired from operational duties after becoming nervous in traffic, but the Met knew they had a cracking little horse on their team and wanted to find a post where she enjoyed her work.”

Cumbria was assigned to the force’s training establishment Imber Court, where she was a schoolmistress for police officers learning to ride.

“Cumbria found her niche in life and it was the beginning of a new journey. Even though she was no longer on the front line, her role was extremely important,” said the spokesman.

“Due to her kind, calm and placid nature Cumbria was a huge favourite with all who met and had the pleasure of riding her. Her favourite activity was showjumping where she provided lots of fun, as well as experience for many officers. When it came to retirement she was a fantastic horse and friend who would be thoroughly missed by all.”

The spokesman said it did not take long for Cumbria to settle into retired life at the Horse Trust.

“We could completely understand why she was so popular and loved at the Met as she pretty much stole our hearts instantly,” she said.

“Although incredibly sweet, Cumbria made it very clear when she did not want to do something! But most importantly, she was known as the horse who loved life and was adored by all around her.”

The spokesman Cumbria suffered a ruptured ligament in one of her hind legs in 2017 which she recovred from, but the mare went on to have other lameness issues.

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“We had managed successfully to keep Cumbria comfortable and happy on painkillers but unfortunately, after the hard ground that came with spring, we had come to a point where we could no longer keep her pain-free despite our very best efforts,” she said.

“The hard decision was made that it was time to say our final goodbyes. Cumbria spent her last days being thoroughly spoilt and treated like the ‘Queen B’ she really was. We will cherish all the memories we shared over the nine years, they will certainly never be forgotten.”

Horse Trust chief executive Jeanette Allen said: “Cumbria was one of the first horses to arrive after I took up the post here. She’s had some scares but always recovered, it really won’t be the same here without her.”

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