Darwen is a Dark Bay, Dutch Warmblood and was born in April 1999. He joined Lancashire Mounted Branch on 3rd December 2007 as a 7 year old where he served the Constabulary fantastically, for 13 years. He is a gentle horse but can be nervous to handle. Darwen likes to build up trust with his handler before he gives them his love and affection! Darwen was said to be unique as he is the only horse at the branch that did not like apples! Darwen was said to be a steady police horse and was not really fazed by large crowds. Though he was more a follower, rather than a leader! On patrol Darwen would go out on his own and was brave (when his colleagues were!)
Darwen was always dependable and was recognised as the officer’s ‘go to horse’. Whenever there was a disturbance on patrol or at football matches, Darwen was always at the fore. Due to Darwen’s reliability, he has been to all of Lancashire’s high-profile football matches. He has also travelled the country to assist in larger football matches and events and even participated in European football matches in Manchester against Feyenoord and St Etienne as well as England vs Turkey at the Ethiad Stadium. Darwen is an agile horse and was used for training officers in troop drills and jumping in the riding school. He has helped many riders on their initial courses and their continuous training. He would quickly work out who is riding him though and would try to do as little work as possible! (if he can get away with it!!) One of Darwen’s quirks was that he used to see ‘ghosts’ in the riding school and would just suddenly dart away from the boards for no reason and riders would have to be alert to stay on! Darwen has been involved in many ceremonial occasions including the Lancaster Shield Hanging, Remembrance Sunday Parades and numerous funerals. He has also attended WHW Penny Farm Charity rides and demonstrations. He even participated in the Lancashire Police HQ Open days where 10,000 members of the public came to watch the musical ride and the public order demonstration.
Darwen has been one of the long-standing members of the Branch and has made many friends along the way. Officers have many fond memories of Darwen and many have learned to ride on him. One of the officer’s said “He will be a massive loss to the Branch but we know he will have a wonderful retirement and after 13 year’s service, I can’t imagine a horse that deserves it more!”