‘A brave but gentle boy who loved people’: final farewell to long-serving police horse

  • A long-serving police horse who was once punched by a drunken football fan has died aged 21 following 14 years’ service and a happy retirement with the Horse Trust.

    “Bud The Brave” started his career with West Yorkshire Police in 2005 and spent 10 years with the force before transferring to the Metropolitan (Met) Police mounted section.

    He retired in October 2019 and spent his final months enjoying life in the field with a number of other former Met equine colleagues.

    “Bud had a wonderful retirement, albeit a sadly short one, as he was taken from us by a fatal colic,” said Horse Trust chief executive Jeanette Allen.

    “He spent his days out in our beautiful fields with fellow retirees from the Met — Gawain, Hadrian, Kathleen, Duke and Jedburgh as well as Boris, Huntsman and Trojan — who all spent time with other forces as well.

    Bud (pictured, right) with his friend Dave (pictured, left)

    “It is our privilege to care for these incredible animals later in life, who along with their officers give so much to our communities, and I personally made sure that Bud never saw another football scarf while he was with us! We just so wish we could have had him longer, such a brave but gentle boy who remarkably still loved people.”

    The photo of Bud being punched on the nose by a drunk fan at a Newcastle v Sunderland derby match in April 2013 sparked widespread outrage, and the perpetrator received a 12-month prison sentence. Bud was unharmed.

    The part-bred Shire served on all aspects of mounted policing, including local patrols, ceremonial events, public demonstrations and countless sporting fixtures.

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    “By the time Bud the Brave had settled into life in London it was clear that his skill, calmness and experience meant he was ideal to help teach police officers to ride, especially as an escort horse, escorting new and inexperienced horses in training out on the roads,” added a spokesman from the Horse Trust.

    “Even this survivor couldn’t go on for ever and after 14 years on the beat the length and breadth of the country, an ongoing issue with lameness caught up with him [and he was retired].

    “His former riders described Bud as a loyal and steady horse and as soon as he arrived everyone at the Horse Trust fell in love with him.”

    “Incredibly he still loved people and that’s a testament to the great care police horses in service are given and to the very strong bonds they develop with their regular riders.”

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