27/03/2015 Alfie: Sad farewell to a very special horse

Our lovely Alfie of the Met Police has been put to sleep after suffering a catastrophic fracture to his leg. Alfie was an absolute sweetie and we so wished him a long, long retirement but it wasn't to be. Here is what his former rider; Sergeant Jon Taylor wanted to say about this very special horse:


"On the 9 December 2010 a wave of disorder broke against the shores of Parliament Square as rioters infiltrated a large demonstration. Officers and horses from the Metropolitan & City of London mounted branches provided crucial support to over stretched foot duty officers in hour after hour of sustained violence including the use of petrol bombs, flares, paint bombs and scaffolding poles. In the front wave of the most intense and ferocious attack on the police was police horse Alfie. Covered in green paint and shoulder to shoulder with other horses in his serial, the 17hh chestnut gelding provided succour and gave courage to the horses and officers deployed with him throughout the day. Always in the forefront of mounted branch tactics to disperse the rioters. From a sunny early afternoon right up until shadows caused by the numerous fires danced on the Portland stone of the government buildings Alfie was a leading horse.


Those of us privileged enough to have known Alfie were not surprised by this. Alfie who spent much of his service based in central Westminster has been at the sharp end of some of the most serious public disorder in Central London for well over a decade and has been in the front lines at large scale fights at football matches and numerous demonstrations that have spilled over into violence and crime.


Alfie was in his younger years also renowned within the mounted branch as a champion show jumper and his skills and abilities did not simply extend to times of trouble and violence. His sweet nature and his love of cuddles made him a huge favourite with the public and he was often to be found falling into a doze surrounded by children petting him. He would also take great pleasure in swinging around shovels left unattended too close to him by careless officers who would then have to draw lots to see who was going to disarm him!


Alfie was also involved in many other high profile events. He had the dubious distinction of relieving himself in the centre gates of Buckingham Palace at the very moment that Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge kissed on the balcony above his head. Alfie was also used on the evening that Gordon Brown left Downing Street. The exit gates had been blocked by a huge crowd of reporters and on lookers and Alfie was one of six horses used to clear a passage through the crowd.


For those fortunate enough to have known Alfie probably the most enduring memory will be his sweet nature. Alfie was a true gentleman always polite to be around and always happy to be fussed, I know of more than one officer who has taken time out to spend a special moment with him and I suspect that Alfie will take a few secrets that officers have shared over the years with him to those big pastures in the sky.


Alfie you have been both our friend and loyal servant and we all take some small comfort in the fact that you have had a short but happy retirement. We all loved you Alfie and we will all miss you."