It is with the greatest sadness that our darling Churchill lost his recent fight with illness and we had to let him go at the age of 25.
We had the absolute pleasure in August 2017 of welcoming Churchill to The Horse Trust for his retirement. After an impressive 16 years’ service in The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment (HCMR), Churchill hung his saddle up for the very last time and made his way to the Chiltern Hills at the age of 22.
Churchill, fondly known as ‘Churchy’, had a full and busy career participating in all duties up until his retirement. This handsome gelding, with his regal roman nose, also took part in many major ceremonies and parades. Churchill’s main role over the years was spent as an HCMR band horse. His steadfast character enabled him to the be “right hand horse” in numerous Birthday Parades for HM The Queen. These types of horses had to be dependable and brave meaning Churchill was essential to the team. Churchill performed in many ceremonial parades including; The Royal Wedding of HRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge 2011, HM The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the State Visits of the Chinese President and South Korean President. We know that Churchill was a huge favourite with everyone in the regiment, just as he was here.
Three years ago, in August we had three handsome new military retirees rock up to The Horse Trust in style! Churchill was one of them, along with good pals Arnhem and Coldstream. This lovely trio remained the best of friends up until Coldstream’s passing in February 2018. Even after losing Coldstream, Churchill and Arnhem stayed firmly together, often being mistaken as twins because of their similar facial markings. Churchill was also reunited with his former colleague Vainglory, who was the former mount of the Director of Music in the HCMR Mounted Band. These two would have worked very closely together and it was certain they had not forgotten each other either! A very gentle soul, Churchy captured the hearts of many human and equine friends. He was a laid-back, friendly chap who thoroughly enjoyed retired life, always being one of the first to bumble down in the morning to say hello at breakfast and have a good scratch! We also cannot forget to mention his dashingly good looks as he was a real stunner. Even as a golden oldie, he did not age one bit – he didn’t look a day over 10 year’s old. In recent times, Churchill was reacquainted with our vet Nicola Housby-Skeggs who worked with him in his Army days. She said that he was extremely accident-prone and there has been many a time when she has seen him recover from various injuries and illnesses, a real trooper indeed.
We have shared with you in recent days that our poor Churchill has not been well. The Equine Care Team quickly noticed that Churchill had been coughing a lot in the field. From there he was rushed to vet Nicky where he underwent a series of tests to diagnose the problem. We were very upset and surprised to find that the laboratory results showed that Churchill was suffering from serious bacterial pneumonia. Even though he has spent the last few days under the best care, receiving the best medication, Churchill told us it was time to let go. Unfortunately, he had stopped responding to treatment and his condition started to worsen. Being an older boy watching him deteriorate was very hard, so the decision was made that we would say our final good-byes to our darling Churchy. His last moments were spent being cuddled and kissed by our CEO before he fell asleep for the very last time.
Churchill, it has been an absolute honour to offer you the retirement you deserved. We cannot tell you how much of an impact you made on all our lives over the last few years, but you have left us with precious memories that we will cherish forever. Another real-life Black Beauty that we shall never forget. Say hello to Coldstream for us, we know he will be waiting for you. Sleep tight Churchy, another hero gone but never forgotten.