11/11/2010 The Horse Trust Says Goodbye to Ex-Greater Manchester Police Horse Barkis

The Horse Trust has sadly said goodbye to Barkis, who worked with the Greater Manchester Police Mounted Section for 13 years before retiring to the sanctuary in Speen, Buckinghamshire.

"I'm totally gutted that he's gone. I was very attached to him and will miss him terribly," said Claire Clark, Barkis' groom at The Horse Trust. "He was a lovely horse and was quite cheeky. He used to try to nibble my sleeve if I had a treat and would occasionally get up to mischief, like flicking the hose off the tap when he was in the yard."

Barkis, a 20 year old 16.3hh grey gelding, was involved in high-profile police work for the Greater Manchester Police, such as patrolling crime hotspots and crowd control at football matches. Barkis was known as a “stone-waller” by the police and was exceptionally brave. He retired to The Horse Trust in May 2008 when he could no longer work due to arthritis in his forelimbs.

After retiring to the sanctuary, Barkis became a firm favourite with staff, volunteers and visitors. "He was one of those horses that people were drawn to. The staff, volunteers and visitors are all going to miss him as he was such a character," said Claire.

As well as arthritis, Barkis suffered from a chronic respiratory problem. Last week, staff at The Horse Trust made the difficult decision to euthanase Barkis as he no longer had an acceptable quality of life.

"Barkis' breathing had been really bad recently - he was on a lot of medication for it, but was still struggling. It got to the stage where there were no more treatment options available and he was obviously suffering, so we made the sad decision put him to sleep," said Claire.