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Police star veteran retires

After 15 years service with the Avon and Somerset Police, the 19-year-old police champion Taunton Deane is to enjoy retirement.

Taunton Deane, a 19-year-old Police horse described as a “true professional”, has officially retired from the Avon and Somerset mounted section after 15 years loyal service, which also saw him win many championships.

On his retirement Taunton Deane or TD as he is affectionately known, was gifted to the ILPH (International League for the Protection of Horses), and today (1 October) he goes to his new loan home in Weymouth, Dorset, where he will spend his retirement.

TD, a 16.1hh Thoroughbred/Hanoverian gelding was selected by chief inspector Peter Griffiths as a five-year-old in 1998 from a dealer in Gloucestershire.

The horse was originally bought by Min Mason,now aged 96 and still living in Taunton, who was a long-time supporter of Avon and Somerset’s dogand horse sections.

Peter Griffiths, now a field officer for the ILPH, explains that it was unusual for a member of the public to buy a horse for the police.

“I’ve never come across anyone else who bought the Police force a horse, but Mrs Mason was very involved with the combined dog and horse section.”

“TD came on a month’s trial and once we were happy with him and knew we would be keeping him, Mrs Mason was sent regular photographs and updates of his progress.”

Once TD’s basic training was completed, he was allocated to PC Philip Jones, now ILPH field officer for South Wales. The pair was extremely successful in Police horse shows and went on to win many championships both nationally and at alocal level.

“In 1993, we took TD to the Metropolitan Police Horse Show at Imber Court, where we won the individual tent pegging, the championship, the team tent pegging and the Master-at-Arms trophy,” says Philip Jones. “He really wasa star!

Apart from all the fun of competing TD carried out all his official duties, including football matches, demonstrations and the Glastonbury Festival where, Phil describes him as: “a true professional.”

After 15 years on thebeat, TD had become a little stiff behind and was finding it harder to cope with the pressures of mounted police horse work. He now goes to a new home where he will be lightly hacked out and well looked after.

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