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Events

Visit to Old Police House Stables

Visit to Old Police House Stables

At the Stables

A beautiful warm and sunny summer’s day in mid-July, the scent of hay, the sounds of horses’ hooves on cobbles coupled with the odd contented whinny, followed by refreshments in a country-style garden with an abundance of beautiful wild flowers. Where were 12 lucky Friends on 18 July? On a privileged visit to the Old Police House Stables and the Rangers Lodge Garden, Hyde Park.

Tucked away behind the Old Police House, the impressive, listed stables buildings, refurbished and reopened by HRH the Duke of Kent in 2010, are home to six magnificent members of the Metropolitan Police’s 100-strong horse contingent, stabled in different locations all over the capital. Sullivan, Olive, Qwerty, Knightsbridge, Quebec and Jensen, each with very individual characters and temperaments, are looked after by ten police staff, including the police jockeys.

Dave Oliver, Stables Manager, welcomed the Friends, showed them round the stables, carefully and lovingly introducing each of his charges, explaining their different likes and dislikes, their strengths and weaknesses. The horses, sourced from all over the country, aged over ten and over 16 hands in height, are fed three times a day and shod monthly. They work almost daily: routine patrols in London’s three main parks; attending ceremonial events (Knightsbridge was at the funeral of PC Keith Palmer, killed at Westminster in March); and giving operational support during public order events such as football matches. The horses retire in their late teens.

While the horses happily munched carrots and apples somewhat apprehensively offered by the Friends, Dave – a very knowledgeable and truly fascinating host – believed that the best horses had “a good head and kind temperament”. At the end of July, the six horses and their bosses were looking forward to spending two weeks at the Met Police’s Mounted Branch training centre, Esher, for annual training and a break from City
life.

Following the visit, over soft drinks and bubbles in the Rangers Lodge Garden, Sue Price thanked Rob Dowling, Hyde Park Manager, for giving the Friends the opportunity to see his lovely garden.

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