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Goodnight Gawain

We are absolutely heartbroken to announce the passing of one of our most popular residents, the much-loved Gawain, at the age of 24. Gawain bravely served the Metropolitan Police for eight magnificent years before retiring to us ten years ago after developing navicular disease which meant he was unable to continue his police work to the exceptionally high standards he was accustomed to.

Whilst in the police, Gawain was known to be one of the kindest and most loyal horses and often found himself in the middle of many violent and volatile situations which he dealt with calmly and efficiently. Some of these difficult events included the student fees and G20 demonstrations, as well as the Cardiff v Chelsea football match in 2010 which was described by police officers as the worst football violence seen since the seventies. Being such a tall and beautiful grey he also often led the grey escort for Royal Ceremonies and Parades and at one point was likely the most photographed horse in the country.

Gawain had an incredibly special place in all our hearts and he was so well loved that he even became one of our sponsor horses, representing our work across the country and quickly become just as popular with our supporters too. Gawain had a large number of loving sponsors who followed his journey with us and who have loyally supported him for the last ten years.

Our handsome grey was also a personal favourite of our Estate Foreman, Jon Taylor, an integral member of our team, who whilst in the Metropolitan Police himself, rode Gawain on many occasions. Jon himself had a few words for Gawain;

“Gawain, it has been my privilege to have known you in both work and retirement. Your striking grey markings with your imposing stature and regal Roman nose would always attract attention. Either admiration or occasionally trepidation, depending on who you were dealing with and under what circumstances. In retirement I would try and seek some time to stop and share a quiet moment of reflection with you. From the busy streets of London to the tranquil pastures of the Chiltern Hills. Gawain you remained the gentle giant. Honest, friendly and a loyal companion. Goodbye ‘big guy’ you are much loved and will be deeply missed.”

For all of us who had the privilege of knowing Gawain, he really was the most magnificent horse. Although ultimately multi joint arthritis added to the navicular condition, Gawain was expertly managed by the team for the decade he spent with us. This included thinking about the selection of the ground he was kept on, specialist farriery and pain medication. This autumn however Gawain’s pain levels increased and despite our best efforts we were sadly not able to get him to a point where he could continue to have a good quality of life. It is one of the hardest things we have to do working here, deciding at which point it is no longer fair and kind to our residents keeping them with us so that we can selfishly continue to spend time with them. For Gawain, we knew this was the right time for him, despite how incredibly difficult it has been coming to terms with it.

Gawain, you were always such a kind and loving member of The Horse Trust family and it has been ten glorious years looking after you in retirement. You have faced many challenging situations in your working career but remained so loving to all despite some of the difficult things you must have seen. Your very special bond with our own CEO, who is broken hearted at your loss, is just one example of how special you were. It has been our honour caring for you for all these years but now it is time for you to Rest in Peace. Gawain, you have and will always be so well loved by all of us here. RIP Gawain, we will never forget you.

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