Award for man who saved police horse from dog attack

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David Wilson, Quixote and PC Andrew Hill (who was riding alongside Alistair and Quixote on another horse).
David Wilson is reunited with police horse Quixote, being held by PC Andrew Hill. © British Horse Society

A man who rugby-tackled a dog to stop it from attacking a police horse in training has received the British Horse Society’s Sefton Award.

David Wilson, who was working in Greenwich Park last year, bravely intervened when Metropolitan Police horse Quixote was attacked by a French bull terrier-cross who was running loose. The dog set upon the horse and launched a sustained attack.

Wilson saw the incident and went to the rescue. He rugby tackled the dog, holding it in a bear hug to his own chest for some time until the owner secured it on a lead. Even then, he continued to ensure the dog stayed where it was – keeping it away from the traumatised horses who were training in the park on January 24, 2014.

Quixote and Wilson were reunited at the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment’s Barracks in Knightsbridge, where Wilson received the Sefton Award.

“It was a situation that needed stopping. No-one was doing anything at the time and I felt I had to do something,” Wilson said.

“I am overwhelmed to receive this award. I was just doing what felt right at the time, so it’s really nice to get some appreciation for it.”

At far right is Metropolitan Police horse trainer Alistair Blamire, who was riding Quixote at the time of the attack, is pictured with David Wilson and PC Andrew Hill, who was riding alongside Alistair and Quixote on another horse.
At far right is Metropolitan Police horse trainer Alistair Blamire, who was riding Quixote at the time of the attack, pictured with David Wilson and PC Andrew Hill, who was riding alongside Alistair and Quixote on another horse. © British Horse Society

Alistair Blamire, a horse trainer for the Metropolitan Police, was riding Quixote when the attack happened. “I was suffering a sustained attack from the dog which was getting worse and the horse was becoming more and more agitated. David came running across from at least 100 yards away and grabbed the dog and stopped the horse being attacked.

“It’s very important to keep our horses safe and it’s wonderful to see that Quixote has survived the trauma and come out so well the other end. It is superb to see Quixote here today, as it is to see David again, and to have this opportunity to thank him.”

Quixote received puncture wounds to his chest and needed veterinary treatment. The attack meant that it took a little longer for him to complete his training, but thanks to his fantastic temperament and Wilson’s brave intervention, he is now a fully-fledged police horse stationed in Whitehall.

Wilson was delighted to have the opportunity to see him again. “Considering what could have happened to him – he could have been absolutely traumatised – it’s fantastic to see him out on the beat and doing so well.”

It is believed by those who witnessed the incident that David prevented physical injury to the rider and a far worse outcome for the horse.

Wilson was one of two recipients to receive the prestigious Sefton Award this year. Nuala Preston from Pembrokeshire also received the award in recognition of her hard work and dedication to improve equestrian safety across Wales.

Preston has been relentless in her efforts to ensure that the needs of horses and riders are recognised. Her achievements are many – including securing funding to provide literature for young drivers regarding driving around horses and visiting every Halfords and independent cycling shop in South West Wales to distribute the BHS Cycling leaflet.

She has also produced a Conduct for Agricultural Contractors, after several near misses between their huge, fast moving vehicles and horses on local roads.

On receiving the award, Preston said: “It is a great honour and it really means a lot to me. It really makes me proud to be at the forefront in trying to change people’s opinions of road safety, especially with horses. In an ideal world everyone would be safer and there would be no horse-related accidents.”

The Sefton Awards were set up by the Society in 1990 as a legacy to Sefton, the Household Cavalry horse who survived the IRA bombings in London in 1982. They are presented for outstanding contributions to equestrian safety.

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