20/10/2011 GMP Horses that Policed Riots in Manchester Retire to The Horse Trust

Four brave police horses from the Greater Manchester Police have retired to The Horse Trust's sanctuary.

The four horses have notched up nearly 50 years service between them and have been involved in a wide range of police duties, including policing public order situations, crowd control at football matches and city centre patrols.

Three of the horses - Nickelby, Oliver and Fairfax - helped police the summer riots in Manchester and Salford city centre. The riots posed a big challenge to the horses due to the noise and violence of the situation, according to Ann Firth, Groom Team Leader at the Greater Manchester Police.

"The riots were tough for our horses - their initial reaction in a situation like that is to run away. Nickelby, Oliver and Fairfax dealt with it really well though - they're big, brave horses that everyone loves riding as they know they'll be safe," said Ann. "All four horses that are retiring are stalwarts of the Mounted Branch. They're often the first to be selected for an operation as they can be used for all types of work and nothing scares them."

Nickelby and Fairfax's last job for the GMP was to police the Manchester derby on 23 October.

The four horses that are retiring to The Horse Trust are Nickelby, a 16.3hh grey horse that has given 13 years service to the GMP; Oliver, a 16.2hh chestnut horse that has given 13 years service; Fairfax, a 16.3hh bay horse that has given 10 years service; and Jack Priday, a 16.3hh grey horse that has given 11 years service. The horses are retiring as they can no longer be ridden - Nickelby, Oliver and Fairfax suffer from osteoarthritis, while Jack has a suspensory ligament injury.

All four horses will be offered lifetime sanctuary at The Horse Trust's Home of Rest for Horses in Speen, Buckinghamshire, where they will have access to 200 acres of paddocks. Ann said that staff at the Mounted Branch are delighted that the horses will be able to spend the rest of their life  in such a peaceful location.

"All four will be hugely missed, but everyone's thrilled that they're getting such an amazing retirement at The Horse Trust," said Ann. "After over a decade pounding the streets of Manchester, it's lovely that they'll get to be a horse again and can spend their days grazing in the fields at the sanctuary."

Jeanette Allen, Chief Executive Officer of The Horse Trust, said: "We are delighted to offer Nickelby, Oliver, Fairfax and Jack lifetime sanctuary after their loyal and brave service to the police. Our staff will give them the loving care they need for the remainder of their years."