After 20 years of duty, the Metropolitan Police Service’s longest serving police horse, Raleigh, is retiring from the force at the age of 23.
Raleigh joined the Met’s Mounted Training Establishment at Imber Court, Surrey, at the age of 3, and has since had a long and distinguished career as a police horse in London.
There are 148 officers and 120 horses in the Met’s mounted branch, with seven operational stables across London.
Most horses enjoy a career of approximately 15 years. His rider, Pc Bill Hounsome, said that although Raleigh is something of a veteran, he is still very “fit and youthful”, describing how “when he’s excited he bucks and jumps around, and is good at tempting people into feeding him apples and other treats”.
As well as daily patrols and ceremonial duties, like the Changing of the Guard and Trooping the Colour, Raleigh was involved in policing almost every large-scale event held in London, ranging from the Notting Hill Carnival to football matches and demonstrations.
He also spent 3 years as part of the Met’s display team, performing the Activity Ride, a fast moving display where horses complete fast crossovers and jump through fire and solid paper walls.
Raleigh can now look forward to a more relaxed pace of life in his new home in Seven Oaks, Kent, where he will join fellow ex-Met police horse, Hector, in the care of Pc Hounsome.