Mounted police ‘delighted’ as critically rare horse joins the force

A police force has welcomed a critically rare Suffolk horse as its latest recruit after she successfully passed her training.

The nine-year-old mare, Rose, passed the recruitment process on 19 June and joins the Police Scotland mounted unit.

Sergeant Lesley Winchester told H&H the force was “quite taken” with the 16.3hh mare when she arrived at the unit’s headquarters, Blairfield Farm, in Kilmarnock.

“We thought she was huge. She’s very wide – she might not be the tallest at 16.3hh but she’s very big built and will certainly make a good impression and have presence on patrol,” said the sergeant.

“She has the right temperament; she’s friendly and has good stable manners. She wasn’t fazed by the nuisance training with things like flags and plastic sheeting on the ground.”

Rose was owned and bred by Bill Ireland and spent her early years in the show ring with producer Richard Telford before it was decided she needed “a more varied life” and she was put forward to Police Scotland.

“We have some retirements coming up so we’ve been looking for horses to increase our establishment,” said Sergeant Winchester.

“There’s a lot of horses that come in and go straight back out – they’re just not suitable. It takes a special type of horse to make the grade; it’s a long list to tick off, but the temperament is the big one – and being good in traffic and noisy crowds. After a trial period it’s still a work-in-progress and they still have more training to go through.”

Sergeant Winchester said the force was “delighted” to have a rare breed join the stables.

“We appreciate they are a critically endangered breed and we hope to make Rose into a good police horse. It’s a good thing for the breed, which has many uses,” she said.

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“She’s come at the right time and we think she’ll adapt quite quickly. We’ll build up her work gradually and she’ll attend some of the lower profile football matches to start. We don’t like to throw our horses into too much too soon.”

Rose has been assigned to PC Fiona Campbell and will be assigned an official police horse name.

“All our horses are named after places in Scotland so she will receive that soon,” said Sergeant Winchester.

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