Special event celebrates 100 years of mounted police training

  • Members of the Met Police’s mounted branch will be showing off their skills to the public today (29 June) to celebrate 100 years of training at Imber Court.

    The Surrey training ground will host performances in front of 1,200 invited guests, with police horses featuring in a musical ride as well as a demonstration of the training they undergo.

    The Imber Court saddler and farrier will display their skills, while officers from the dog unit and territorial support group will also be on hand, along with Met Police special constables and cadets.

    The mounted branch HQ now trains about 15 horses and 10 new riders a year. It also houses sick or injured horses from the branch.

    Since 1919, it has overseen each horse and rider’s 16-week long training, after which officers move on to an operational stable.

    Among its famous alumni is the grey Billy, one of 10 police horses who were ridden to control thousands of people who poured on to the pitch before the 1923 FA Cup final at the newly built Wembley Stadium.

    Billy was photographed several times that day and dubbed by the press as “the white horse of Wembley”.

    “The mounted branch remains one of the Met’s most distinguished units, with a horse strength of 98 and 150 officers and staff,” a spokesman for the force said, adding that its main functions are high-visibility patrols to deter criminals, public order duties and serving at ceremonial occasions.

    Chief Inspector Rhodes said: “The mounted branch is an essential part of the life and security of London and we are thrilled to be celebrating what has been a fantastic 100 years at our Imber Court headquarters.

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    “Our horses and mounted officers carry out outstanding work and Imber Court plays an absolutely integral part in training and creating one of the Met’s most profound units.

     “We are incredibly proud to be showcasing some of the best of the mounted branch at the ceremony today and we look forward to spending another 100 years at this fantastic training ground.

    “The work of the staff at Imber Court is truly invaluable and I am proud to lead such a professional and talented unit, which plays such a huge part in keeping our city safe.”

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