Brian the horse is out of the force

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Brian is heading back home after flunking police training.
Brian is heading back home after flunking police training. © Thames Valley Police/Facebook

Brian the horse, whose police training made headlines after it was revealed his name would probably be changed if he made it into the force, has failed his tests.

Thames Valley Police in Britain announced that Brian has been deemed unsuitable just two weeks into his six-week trial period.

A police spokesman said Brian would be handed back to his owners.

Brian, it transpires, was too fearful of the urban environment to be deemed suitable for police work, so the decision to end his trial was made on Wednesday. The six-year-old Shire-Friesian cross had passed his medical examination on February 5 and then began his field trial.

Brian, who stands at 17.2 hands, will return to The Stables Equestrian Centre, a riding school in Wilstead, Bedfordshire. He has been with the stables since 2013.

It is tradition in the Thames Valley Force to rename police horses once they pass their initial six-weeks training, giving them a war or god-themed name, such as Odin, Thor or Hercules.

News of the potential name change upset members of the public, with hundreds taking to social media to voice their opinion. Thames Valley Police sought feedback on whether Brian should keep his name, and the support for him to do so was overwhelming.

Sergeant Spencer Kervin, of the Mounted Section, explained the decision to end Brian’s career before it began.

“Brian has been with us for nearly two weeks and he has been ridden every day, as part of his trial period.

“It has become very apparent very quickly that he is not settled to the urban environment. He has been brought up in a rural setting and he is nervous when he is out and about.

“You can see the change in him when he walks out the gates of the police station, which endangers him, the officer on board and the public around his feet.

“It is the sort of thing you cannot train out of a horse, sadly, and it is not fair on him and his welfare to continue.

“If a horse is going to get used to an environment they will generally settle within a week.

“Brian was a lovely horse and it is a shame to have to hand him back, but for his own welfare it is for the best and he is going back to a lovely home. We wish him and his owners all the best for the future.”

The Mounted Section, which currently has eight horses, will start looking for a replacement horse.

Brian had been taken on to replace Pluto, a seven-year-old Shire horse, who suffered from peritonitis and, despite the efforts of a team of vets, died suddenly in his stables six months ago.

Paula Jays, who manages The Stables Equestrian Centre, said she was grateful for Thames Valley Police to have given him the trial. “The experience he had when he was there is second to none.

“When we brought Brian in we realised that he has got so much scope and potential – he’s a bit wasted here. He would not get the use he deserves at the riding school.

“We are in no hurry to sell him, which is why we were happy for him to go to the police. We just want the right place for him.”

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