Huntsman has had an amazing career. He’s an Irish Draught horse who spent most of his working life with the Metropolitan Police Mounted Section. Then, a couple of years prior to his retirement, the police nationally commissioned an exciting piece of research looking at the role of police horses in society.
This research found that considering horses as primarily having a community role that can also be used for public order, might be popular with the public and beneficial to the police. For example, law abiding people living in challenging areas hear a clip clop that can only mean a police patrol, they wouldn’t notice officers on foot or in a car whilst in their homes, so the sound is hugely reassuring. Also in many cases the research showed that children and young people who have been taught to be very wary or even openly abusive of the police, are far more likely to have a positive interaction with an officer on horseback.
As a result four horses were seconded from other forces to work in Gloucestershire for the very first time, to see what the results were of introducing police horses to an area that has never had them. Huntsman was one of those chosen and retired to us once the study was completed.