Injured police horse back on duty

  • Alamein, the police horse injured in the Millwall football riots last month is back on the beat

    Alamein, the eight year-old Irish Draught gelding injured in the Millwallfootball riot last month, has made a good recovery and returned to work in time for the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations.

    According to his rider Sergeant Alistair Blamire the 17hh dark bay gelding is not suffering any ill effects from his ordeal.

    “He’s a far better horse now actually, because he’s had a four weeks rest, a bit of a chill-out,” he said.

    A night of violence

    On the night of the riots, Alamein was being ridden by PC Mark Waller as his permanent rider was at the mounted branch’s training facilities at Imber Court, Surrey, practicing for the activity ride at Windsor’s “All the Queen’s Horses”equine extravaganza.

    Alamein was injured when he fell into a parked car and cut his knee. Quick reaction from PC Waller, his mounted branch and foot duty colleagues prevented the gelding from being further injured by the crowd.

    It was obviously a very severe cut,” says Chief Inspector Bob Barker, “It sliced into the knee joint and severed the artery.”

    Mounted officers carry field bandages, but human medics were the first to treat the wound.

    “I had to ride through the paramedic’s compound to get to the boxes, and they offered their support,” said PC Waller, who stayed up with the gelding to nurse him through the night.

    Although the wound was serious, the prompt attention at the site meant that the vets only needed to use two stitches to close the wound and the nicked artery.

    Alamein was transferred to the training facilities at Imber Court for two weeks box rest with 10 minutes hand walking each day.

    “Our main concern was that there would be complications within the joint,” explains Sgt Blamire. “Horses aren’t very good patients so we were surprised that he left the wound alone and we are all amazed how quickly it healed.

    “We’ve had many letters of support from the public,as well as donations for treats.”

    Getting back to work

    Following box rest, Alamein had two weeks of light riding before going back to work at Great Scotland Yard in London.

    “In public order situations, it’s acknowledged that a police horse can do the job of 10 or 12 police officers on foot,” explains Chief Inspector Barker.

    “When you look at the scale, length of time and severity of the attack, it’s fortunate that we didn’t have more officers and horses injured.

    “The fact that we’ve now got all the horses back working and we only had officers off for two days demonstrates the good training and the skill of all the officers and horses.”

    On the night of the capital’s Jubilee rock concert, Alamein worked in crowd control in front of Buckingham Palace and the next day was on security patrol at Trafalgar Square for the Queen’s procession. “On both days he was lead horse. He was perfect – spot on,” says his rider.

    Alistair says he now plans to include his new partner in the police Activity Ride: “He jumps like a stag and I hope to use him in the future.”

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