20/10/2013 Brave Police Horse Spartan retires to The Horse Trust

Thames Valley Police Horse Spartan has retired to The Horse Trust after spending six years’ serving the public.

Thames Valley Police Mounted Section

Spartan, a 17.1hh Clydesdale cross fondly known as Sparky, served with the Thames Valley Police Mounted Section. He protected the public on daily patrols and even faced large crowds and occasionally even terrifying violence whilst on duty at demonstrations and football matches.  During his illustrious career he even helped police the London 2012 Olympics and attended Her Majesty The Queen Mother’s funeral, Sir Elton John’s wedding and escorted HM The Queen at Royal Ascot.

PC Andy Barkus who trained Spartan said ‘Spartan is the boldest police horse I have ever worked with. During a demonstration in Brighton, the demonstrators decided to block our path with wheelie bins. Spartan pushed straight through without any hesitation’. 
Spartan is full of character and has a reputation for getting grumpy, especially when his feeding routine is interrupted!  He was a huge favourite at Thames Valley Police. PC Kirsty Wilson, who rode Spartan for two and a half years, said ‘Spartan is my favourite horse. Although I will miss him, I am so pleased he has the opportunity to retire at The Horse Trust’.

New Sand School at The Horse Trust

Whilst visiting The Horse Trust to drop off Spartan for his well-deserved retirement, Thames Valley Police Mounted Section took the opportunity to spend the day training some of their other horses in the charity’s new sand school.

Police horses often face large crowds and occasionally even violence and aggression and must be able to work closely together in teams in order to help maintain public safety. Police horses Sampson, Caesar, Odin, Trojan, Pagan and Luna trained together at The Horse Trust as part of a troop drill to practice working as a team.  PC Tim Pollock of Thames Valley police said ‘thanks to the size of The Horse Trust’s horse training school, we are able to work six horses, which is a useful experience for them’.

Horse Welfare Training

The Horse Trust is proud of its long relationship with Thames Valley Police. Many of their police officers who are not in the Mounted Section visit The Horse Trust to receive training in basic horse handling and welfare assessment, to ensure that they have the skills needed to deal with stray horses on the road, as well as any welfare concerns they may encounter.

The Horse Trust relies entirely on donations to fund vital work which includes providing a dignified retirement for hard-working equine public servants like Spartan and providing essential training for police officers. To donate, please visit follow the link.