It is with great sadness that we bring you the news of the passing of…
Brigadier Paul Jepson, the recently retired CEO of The Horse Trust, will be laying a wreath at the Animals in War Memorial on Remembrance Sunday (14 November)
“It is an honour to take part in the Remembrance Sunday parade and pay respects to those that have made the ultimate sacrifice for this country,” said Paul Jepson, who now works as a specialist policy consultant at The Horse Trust. “We hope that people will remember the contribution that working horses have made in both World Wars, as well as in recent times. It is thought that hundreds of thousands of horses and mules gave their lives for this country during World War One and World War Two – a sacrifice that deserves recognition”.
The Horse Trust, which was founded in 1886, has had a long involvement in helping horses that have served in the army, reducing the suffering of horses serving in the army and providing a home for retired army horses that have served their country.
The charity, which was then known as The Home of Rest for Horses, provided the first motorised horse ambulance to transport wounded horses in France from the front line during the First World War.
According to the charity’s 1916 Annual Report, in two years this ambulance travelled around 13,000 miles and carried in excess of 1,000 injured horses.
The Home of Rest for Horses ambulance, which was the first of its kind worldwide, was so successful that the War Office commissioned additional horse ambulances. By the end of the war, 14 of these vehicles were in operation in France.
The Horse Trust has a long history of providing lifetime sanctuary to retired army horses. The first war veteran, San Toy, retired to The Home in 1919 after serving in both the Boer and First World War. He spent a happy retirement at The Home’s sanctuary until his death in 1923.
The best known ex-army resident was Sefton, who was critically injured when the IRA bombed Hyde Park and Regent’s Park in 1982. After recovering from his injuries he returned to service in the Household Cavalry for two years, before retiring to The Home of Rest for Horses where he lived until his death in 1993.
There are currently nine retired army horses living at The Horse Trust, including Sefton’s successor, Pepe and Sam Slick.
Sefton, a 16.2hh black gelding who retired to the Home in 2005, was named in honour of the horse injured in the IRA bombings. Like the original Sefton, he worked as a Cavalry trooper for the Household Cavalry.
Pepe, a 15.3hh Irish Draft bay, was part of the King’s Troop at the army’s Paderborn Equestrian Centre in Sennelager, Germany. He retired to The Home of Rest in July 2007.
Sam Slick, a 16.3hh brown gelding, spent most of his army life in the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, taking part in Trooping the Colour, Royal Salutes and other ceremonial duties. Sam helped many young, inexperienced officers to gain confidence on parade, before retiring to the Home of Rest in 2008.