Brave Chiswick takes a break from the barricades

February 9, 2012

Police horse Chiswick is taking a well-earned three-month break from his London police career.

Chiswick enjoying a mint with his rider, Mick.
Chiswick has proved to be a versatile and valuable police horse during his 12 years of service, but his finest hour was undoubtedly during the student riots in 2010.

The 17.3-hand horse showed exceptional bravery in jumping burning barricades.

On Wednesday, Chiswick was welcomed to The Horse Trust's Buckingham sanctuary for a two to three-month rest from duties which he performs out of the Metropolitan Police's Hyde Park stables.

He arrived along with another police horse, Brigadier, who was based at the police training establishment at Imber Court. Brigadier is being permanently retired because of a degenerative hock condition.

Chiswick's respite break continues a service The Horse Trust has been providing for 125 years. Chiswick has carried out numerous duties during his 12 years service, including being a member of The Royal Parks Operational Command Unit, which ensures the parks remain free from disturbance and crime.

He has provided operational support during public order events such as controlling football crowds and the student riots.

He has also undertaken many ceremonial escort roles and crime tasks within London, such as mounted escorts to the Queens Life Guard and changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace.

His striking black colour and confident and brave nature has earned him the position of "Pointer" for the Black Escort, which is used for any State Funerals where the Inspector of the Mounted Branch leads the procession.

Chiswick's rider, police officer Mick Wass, travelled with him to The Horse Trust and was very pleased he is being given a well-earned break from his duties.

"I can think of no better place for Chiswick to spend some down time than in the care of the staff at The Horse Trust. I am really pleased he is being given this chance of a holiday and is being rewarded for the long service he has given over many years."

Brigadier, 19, who stands at 16 hands, is a bay gelding and has served the force for 14 years.

Brigadier with police officer Hannah.
At Imber Court, he helped to train police horses and riders to ensure they were equipped to deal with the rigours of policing the capital.

Like Chiswick, Brigadier has been involved in the full range of police work such as policing Notting Hill Carnival and football matches at Wembley Stadium.

He can no longer be ridden due to degenerative changes in his hock joints.

The trust's yard manager, Shirley Abbott, said: "We are thrilled to provide a well earned rest for such a brave horse as Chiswick and also a permanent, gentle retirement for Brigadier after his many years of faithful service, and who will need special care and medication as he suffers from Cushings Disease as well as his arthritis."

On the same day, Verdun and Alderman returned to work at the Mounted Section, after relaxing and recuperating for nine months' respite at The Horse Trust, in time to help police the Olympic Games.

Trust chief executive Jeanette Allen said the two boys returning to work would be missed as they had become very special characters at the sanctuary.

"Verdun is a stunning and gentle creature who played the role of Black Beauty at the charity's recent presentation to an audience of thousands at the London International Horse Show at Olympia in December 2011 and Alderman, also known as Storming Norman, is a small horse with a huge personality."