17/04/2013 The Horse Trust stunned as angry football fan punches police horse

The Horse Trust has issued a statement in response to the terrible incident in Newcastle city centre where a man punched a police horse from the West Yorkshire mounted branch. Newcastle United fans began rioting after their team lost against rivals Sunderland.

West Yorkshire Police, who were assisting Northumbria Police at the weekend, have since issued a statement to say that the horse in question, Bud, was not harmed. The police officer riding Bud, and his colleagues on the ground, acted quickly to arrest the man and prevent further attempts to harm the horse.

Newcastle United also released the following statement on Sunday: ‘We were embarrassed and appalled by the behaviour of a minority of so-called fans who last night were involved in disturbances and disorder in Newcastle city centre after the match’.

It is estimated that in a crowd control situation, a police officer on horseback can do the job of 10 - 15 police officers on foot because of the horse’s physical mass and height advantage. These police horses and their riders often risk serious injury to carry out their duties and protect the public. It is difficult to imagine where we would be without these hardworking and fearless creatures and it is devastating to think that some people go out of their way to attempt to harm them.

Horse Trust Chief Executive Jeanette Allen spoke to BBC West Midlands Radio about the incident on Monday. The Horse Trust is the only UK charity to specialise in providing retirement for police horses who have served their communities all over the country.

The Horse Trust’s Home of Rest, situated in the rolling Buckinghamshire countryside, provides a home for retired working horses from the military, police and charities that use horses to help unadvantaged and disabled children. They also care for horses, ponies and donkeys who have suffered severe neglect. Pern (pictured above) retired to The Horse Trust in 2012 after working with Northumbria Police Force for 16 years. 17hh Pern has been described as a ‘fantastic police horse’ by Sergeant Andy Cross who also reported that Pern ‘thoroughly enjoyed his job and just came alive when he went to work’. A few months later, Pern was joined by his old colleague Big Klyde who was retired from the Cleveland Mounted Branch. Fellow chestnut Big Klyde is famous for being the tallest police horse in the country as he stands at a massive 19hh. Big Klyde and Pern often worked together policing the North East region.

Pern and Klyde join 24 other police horses at The Horse Trust and all are no strangers to the type of scenes witnessed in Newcastle at the weekend. During their long careers, Pern and Klyde helped police football matches and demonstrations as well as Royal visits and other high profile events. Pern and Klyde are greatly missed by their teams at Northumbria and Cleveland, but both have settled in very well at The Horse Trust and are enjoying a well-deserved retirement.

The Horse Trust’s Chief Executive, Jeanette Allen said: ‘The behavior of the football fan in this incident was both dangerous and idiotic. However, police horses are specially trained to cope with these kinds of situations and as we know, Bud has been unaffected by his ordeal.
We are proud of our relationship with the mounted police officers who work so hard to protect the public and their property. We are proud and privileged to give police horses a dignified retirement at our home of rest when their working days are over’.