‘Rest in peace, sweet boy – your duty is done’: colic claims life of retired police horse, aged 26

  • A police horse nicknamed after a cartoon character, who served in the 2011 riots and London Olympics, has been put down aged 26.

    Otto, also known as “Melman”, served with Thames Valley Police before spending his 10-year retirement “kicking his hooves back with his friends” at the Horse Trust.

    “We have been so blessed to have had 10 years loving and caring for Melman in his retirement,” said a Horse Trust spokesman. “He was always an incredibly gentle and sensitive horse and his loss has left a large hole in our hearts.”

    Melman policed many football matches during his career, as well as the 2012 Olympics at the Eton Dorney venue, which was home to the rowing and sprint canoe events.

    He also worked on missing-person and crime searches, town centre crime patrols, at concerts and rock festivals and Pride in Brighton, and performed security duties at Royal Ascot. He was one of the horses who served at the 2011 London riots and on state visits and military movements at Windsor.

    The spokesman added that he was given his nickname, Melman, after the anxious giraffe in the film Madagascar owing to his somewhat nervous disposition. He retired after the Olympics and joined the charity in November 2012.

    Melman sustained a couple of bouts of colic in recent weeks and the team were initially encouraged after he appeared to make a good recovery.

    “However, Melman was unable to respond to the treatment the final time and it was then that the team had to make the incredibly heart-breaking decision to let him go,” the spokesman added.

    “Melman, you have left us heartbroken. You were the sweetest, most gentle soul who quickly melted all our hearts and stayed inside them for 10 wonderful years.

    “We had the absolute pleasure of having you in our lives and as part of the Horse Trust family for so many years. Rest in peace sweet boy, we know you are now at ease and your duty is done. Fly high our lovely Melman, we will cherish the memories with you for ever.”

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