Long-serving police horse to retire from his beat age 23

  • A 23-year-old police horse who is “part of the furniture” is to retire next month after more than 16 years’ service.

    Oakwell is to retire from the South Yorkshire Police mounted section on 30 March at Barnsley football grounds, Oakwell Stadium.

    PC David Driver told H&H that Oakwell, known as George, has always been “a bit of a character” since he joined the mounted section in 2002.

    “When he first came his rider at the time had him out on patrol and George had obviously had enough halfway round and wanted to go to sleep; he started to go down, his rider came off, got covered in mud and and had to come back and explain herself,” said PC Driver.

    “Not long after that he managed to walk through an open stretch of water and in the middle he went down to roll; the rider got soaked again.”

    The 17hh gelding, who spent three weeks on duty at the London Olympics in 2012, is the longest-serving police horse in the department at South Yorkshire Police.

    “Normally we retire them at 21 but he’s just George, he’s fit and well and does the job. He doesn’t seem to be getting any older in himself,” said PC Driver.

    “I had George for a short period of time but over the years we’ve all ridden him – he’s the old man of the group. If it’s a big event we all want to ride him because he’s a sure thing, he’s been there and done it and you know what you’re going to get with him.”

    George will retire to an equine charity for rehoming.

    “The police horses are normally retired to one of two charities; World Horse Welfare or Horses and Pony Protection Association. The horses are placed with selected people, who are from a horsey background – they don’t just go to anyone. The horse will then be monitored to ensure his health and welfare for the rest of his days,” said PC Driver.

    “We are all attached to George. Nine other horses have retired before him or come in and done a few years in the time George has been here – he’s part of the furniture because he’s been here so long.”

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