It is with the heaviest of hearts that we inform you of the passing of a dear old friend. At 23 years old, we said our final goodbyes to Iceini after 12 wonderful years of retirement at The Horse Trust.
Iceini served in the Thames Valley Police Mounted Unit (TVP) for 5 years before retiring to the rolling Chiltern Hills of Speen. Standing at 17hh and being a heavy breed (Percheron x Irish Draught), Iceini was the perfect candidate for participating in events that needed crowd control, such as football matches. Even the rowdiest of crowds can be settled when almost a tonne of police horse shows up!
Iceini also played a vital role in escorting members of the Royal Family on State Visits and numerous other occasions including Royal Ascot. Despite being fantastic at his role, Iceini’s career was cut tragically short after being diagnosed with Navicular Syndrome, a condition that affects the navicular bone and associated structures in the foot. He had a short but very sweet time in the force and was remembered very fondly for his unbelievable work-ethic.
Since the day he arrived at The Horse Trust in 2008, Iceini has always been a favourite with all the members of the team. Due to his sheer bulk, he was lovingly dubbed ‘Rhino’ or ‘Iceini-don’ (a new breed of dinosaur!) by the grooms.
Even though this chap looked like a real bruiser, Iceini was truly the definition of a gentle giant. He loved nothing more than human company and scratches, especially on his neck and chest. Another big love of Iceini’s was food, you could always find him first waiting patiently for breakfast in the mornings with best buddy, Rocco, in tow! Occasionally, Iceini would be treated to a ‘Likit Bar’ which were his ultimate favourites.
Hilariously, this massive horse could be a real baby at times! Seeing Nicky the Vet for a check-up and being measured with the (dreaded!) height stick were two of Iceini’s least favourite things to do. Furthermore, he did not enjoy being stabled and would often take matters into his own hooves… by taking the stable door off its hinges! Luckily for the HT Team, Iceini was not built for speed, so when this did happen, Iceini didn’t get very far!
We soon learned that yard-life was not for him, and that all he wanted was to spend the rest of his days roaming the fields with his pals. This is exactly what he got.
Iceini suffered with arthritis in his old age but, just a few months ago, it appeared that he had also lost control of his bladder. We found he suffered from primary bladder disease and was struggling to position himself whilst going to the toilet. Nicky the Vet designed a treatment plan to address both the inflammation of his bladder and his arthritis. This was effective and soon enough, Iceini was back enjoying his retirement.
As can be the way with horses, after a few peaceful months Iceini’s pain levels increased again, dramatically. Knowing there was no further treatment we could offer Iceini, the heart-breaking but decision was made to not let him suffer any longer.
Our gentle soul Iceini, it has been an absolute privilege and honour to of given you these wonderful years of rest. There is a giant hole in our hearts since you left us, but we shall cherish the memories forever.
Good night and farewell sweet boy, your duty is done – fly high.
Read more about Iceini’s story.