As you can imagine, it has been a very sad and difficult time for us here at The Horse Trust and we have lost one too many of our family members in recent times. We are heartbroken to announce that this week we said our last goodbyes to our beloved Pilot at the age of 25. RIP Pilot.
Pilot (aka. Max) retired from the Northumbria Police Mounted Section after 7 years of service. This brave police horse carried out all forms of policing duties, such as working at lively local football matches and pop concerts, Remembrance Day parades and demonstrations. His former long-term rider, PC Tony Preece, said “He carried out his daily patrol duties with the ease and efficiency of the noble and polite gentleman he was”.
In his prime, Pilot was also known to be the fastest of all the Northumbria Horses. His favourite beach at Druridge Bay was the hotspot for all the races! Not only did Pilot win every time, but it was said his rider would always have lack of breaks and struggle to pull him up after! It was clear to see that Pilot was a valuable member of the Northumbria team and that they were sad to see him retire after so many memorable years.
In November 2015, Pilot arrived at pastures green here at The Horse Trust to begin a well-deserved retirement. It was also an important day as he was reunited with former colleagues, Phlint and Pongo, who retired from the branch just the year before. The beautiful 17hh bay immediately became a favourite with the team for his dashingly good looks and cheeky personality. Not only was Pilot tall but he was a chunky chap too! A stunning mix of Irish Draught and Clydesdale meant he was the type you would not want to stand in front of when he came galloping down for breakfast in the mornings.
A horse with a personality as big as his size, everyone had a soft spot for Pilot. He loved his human friends as much as his horsey herd and loved nothing more than rummaging through the groom’s pockets and dozing flat out in the sun with his pals. He was also a sucker for a good cuddle, if you could get your arms around his neck that is.
‘Cuddle monster’ was a secret nickname of his… not that he wanted his old police colleagues to know that! Pilot was a huge part of our family and there will never be another to replace him.
Unfortunately, Pilot suffered with a large abscess in this foot last year. It took a long time to heal, with the foot never really fully recovering. Recently, he suffered a recurrent infection in his foot that was affecting the bone, and was severely and quickly affected due to the previous abscess. Treatment would have been prolonged and very painful. Even then, we weren’t sure if he would ever make a full recovery. We felt at this stage the kindest option was to say our final goodbyes to him, so he could live out eternity pain free.
Pilot, it has been our privilege to serve you in your retirement over the last five years – and what an amazing time it’s been! Another taken from us far too soon, but we need you to go and keep the others in check up there. The Elysian Fields are calling, and it is time for you to spread your wings darling boy.
Good night Pilot, always and forever with us. HTx
Pilot (4th from left) doing public order training