10/08/2011 Three Metropolitan Police Horses Retire to The Horse Trust

Three long-serving police horses from the Metropolitan Police force have arrived at The Horse Trust.

Metropolitan Police horse Vernon, is retiring to the sanctuary, while Verdun and Alderman are on respite. It is hoped that after a period of rest and recuperation, Verdun and Alderman will be able to return to the Metropolitan Police in spring 2012, so they can help police the London Olympics.

Danny Butler, Training Manager for Metropolitan Police Mounted Branch, said the three horses were some of the best horses in the force.

"Vernon, Verdun and Alderman are three very good, solid police horses - if they were in a football team, they would be some of the first names on the team sheet," said Danny. "They have notched up 50 years of experience between them, which is impressive given that we're lucky nowadays if our horses can work for 10 years."

All three horses have been involved in the full range of police work, including crowd control at demonstrations, football matches and riots, and patrolling crime hotspots. Vernon and Verdun have also got involved in high-profile ceremonial work - Vernon was part of the escort for HRH Princess of Wales' funeral in 1997, while Verdun was part of the escort for HRH The Queen Mother's funeral in 2002.

16.1hh black gelding Vernon and 17.2hh black gelding Verdun have both worked for the Metropolitan Police since 1993, giving 18 years service each. Danny affectionately describes them both as "v-reg's" - the Metropolitan Police gives all horses a name starting with the same letter each year, similar to the way that car registration plates used to work.

15.3hh brown gelding Alderman, who is described as a "tiddler" by the Met Police as he is small in height for a police horse, has given 14 years service to the police.

Staff at the Met Police have decided that it is time for Vernon to retire as he has degenerative joint disease in the coffin joints of both front feet and suffers from a condition known as sidebone. Verdun does not have any health problems but, as he is an older horse, needs a period of rest and recuperation. Alderman is currently sound, but suffers from a condition known as chronic annular ligament syndrome.

"Vernon really deserves his retirement at The Horse Trust - he doesn't owe the job a penny," said Danny. "Alderman and Verdun are having a well earned rest and we hope they will be able to return to police the Olympics."

Jeanette Allen, Chief Executive Officer of The Horse Trust, welcomed the three horses to the sanctuary.

"Vernon, Verdun and Alderman have carried out vital police work in their time with the Metropolitan Police. We are delighted to offer Vernon a peaceful place to pass the last years of his life and to give Verdun and Alderman some much-needed respite," said Jeanette.