One of the “most trusted mounts” in the Metropolitan Police has died aged 19 following a bout of colic.
Police horse Keston was bought by the force as a seven-year-old and started his career at the mounted training base in Esher in 2007.
From there, he was issued to PC Dunan Jones and posted to Hammersmith stables.
“His journey however was not an easy one,” a police spokesman told H&H.
“As a young remount, he tested even Duncan’s cool and calm persona.”
After much patience, “eventually the penny dropped”, and Keston started his operational duties.
“Over the last four years, he was based at Great Scotland Yard where he was a firm favourite with all the officers due to his mischievous character,” said the spokesman.
“He loved a cuddle and fuss but equally when your back was turned he could untie himself in seconds.
“He would then find a vacant stable and help himself to another horse’s hay.”
During his time with the force, he frequently escorted The Queen on state occasions and high-profile events.
He also took part in policing the 2012 London Olympics, the Notting Hill carnival, football matches, demonstrations, community events, school visits and New Year’s Eve celebrations.
“In his last years, Keston went from strength to strength and was normally the mount of choice for new mounted branch officers and senior officers,” added the spokesman.
“On the streets, he was one of the most trusted mounts but if anyone would dare to take him in the school, they would normally be eating sand as he had perfected his buck.”
Keston’s most recent officer, Phil Butler, remembers the horse’s bravery.
“I remember riding Keston at a football match where officers were being heavily attacked,” he said.
“We were sent into the disorder to protect colleagues and Keston was superb.
“I received a commendation for this, but all Keston wanted was an apple.”