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After a long, distinguished career policing the streets of ThamesValley and surrounding forces, police horse Clyde received a Chief Constable’s commendation at Royal Ascot on Saturday (18/6), which was presented by HM The Queen and Sara Thornton, Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police.
Clyde will be retiring to The Horse Trust in the next few weeks.
Believed to be the longest-serving operational police horse in the country, Clyde is a 21-year-old, 16.3hh, Thoroughbred-Clydesdale cross, dark bay gelding. He was purchased by Thames Valley Police in January 1994 from Broadstone Stud in North Oxfordshire.
Sgt John Thurston, of the Thames Valley Police Mounted Section, said: “Clyde has worked at Royal Ascot for the last 18 years, the majority of this time as the sergeant’s lead horse on the nearside rails protecting the royal carriage procession up the course. As this will be his final tour of duty, we felt it was an appropriate occasion to present him with a commendation.”
As well as his duties at Royal Ascot, Clyde has also been one of the lead horses for numerous state visits at Windsor and for leading the royal procession into the area at Windsor for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.
One of his early operational commitments was to police the grounds of Windsor Castle when there was a mass protest against the Criminal Justice Act on the right to roam, when protesters ran towards the castle.
He was also involved in policing the environmental protests at Newbury by-pass, football matches at Reading, Oxford, High Wycombe, Luton, Southampton, Northampton, Cardiff, Swansea, Swindon and of particular note in 1996 at Portsmouth, where Clyde received a Chief Constable’s Commendation for dealing with extremely violent disorder at the match.
Sgt Thurston added: “Despite having reached the age of 21, Clyde still believes he is four years old! This was proved in 2009 when the clerk to the course at Ascot gave permission for the police horses to canter up the course to the four-furlong mark after the final race on the last day of Royal Ascot. He managed to beat far younger horses and came a commendable third.
“Although he is still an excellent police horse, we owe it to Clyde to give him a well deserved retirement. This will be his last Ascot, with a view to retiring him to The Horse Trust in Speen, Buckinghamshire, in the next few weeks.”
Clyde will be reunited with his former Thames Valley Police horse friends Iceni and Dexter, who retired to The Horse Trust three and five years ago respectively, and with Titan – the largest police horse in the UK – who arrived at the sanctuary in May for six months respite care.
“We look forward to welcoming Clyde to our Home of Rest for Horses in a few weeks.Clyde has carried out vital police work during his long years of service with the Thames Valley Police. We hope he will have a long and happy retirement with us,” saidJeanette Allen, Chief Executive Officer of The Horse Trust