Police horse to enjoy ‘fairytale’ retirement with former rider and old equine colleague

  • A striking police horse who always drew a crowd will enjoy a “fairytale” retirement with one of his former riders and a former equine colleague.

    This week Northumberland Police waved goodbye to 17-year-old part-bred Friesian Percy, who had served with the force for seven years.

    Police officer Jo Watson, who trained Percy and went on to ride him for four years, told H&H the 17.2hh gelding was a “gentle giant” on the ground but had not been the easiest to train.

    “He got there eventually,” she said. “He was very proud; he would jog and prance about. If you told him off he got worse; you had to sit quietly and ignore him – if you got hold of him and put your legs on he only got bigger!

    “He was a very bold horse but he also had a bit of an edge. It wasn’t just plodding round the streets with him, he gave you a bit more of a ride and I loved that about him. He used to do mini launches where he would jump like a Lipizzaner. “

    During his career Percy led parades, attended Manchester and Sheffield football derbies, and was used for mutual aid where he would help other forces.

    “He went to Brighton to a Hells Angels’ rally. He just did everything, he was a fantastic police horse,” said PC Watson.

    “Percy always drew a crowd because he was so attractive. When he walked past people would say ‘wow’. He was jet black, shiny, held his head high and pranced everywhere. Even when he was walking he had this presence, he was just gorgeous.”

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    Percy was retired from the force owing to some back issues but he will now enjoy light hacking with his other former rider, retired police officer Michelle Alexander.

    “I think if Percy had been going further away I’d have been a bit heartbroken but I know I’ll still get to visit him. I spoke to Michelle and he’s already settled in and is happy as larry,” said PC Watson.

    “Michelle also rode police horse Peroni for six years and when she retired in January, Peroni retired with her so Percy is in the field with his old colleague. It’s really lovely, it’s like an ideal fairytale and a happy ever after.”

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