Berkshire

Queen awards police horse Clyde at Royal Ascot

The Queen awards police horse Clyde with a Chief Constable’s commendation
Image caption Clyde will be retired in the next few weeks

The Queen has awarded a 21-year-old Thames Valley Police horse with a Chief Constable's commendation at Royal Ascot.

Clyde, a thoroughbred Clydesdale cross dark bay gelding, is the longest-serving operational police horse in England and Wales.

The horse has worked at Royal Ascot for the past 18 years.

Saturday, the final day of Royal Ascot 2011, saw Clyde's last event before he is retired in the next few weeks.

Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police Sara Thornton was also present at the ceremony.

As well as protecting the royal carriage procession at Royal Ascot, Clyde was a lead horse for numerous state visits at Windsor, led the royal procession at Windsor for the Queen's Golden Jubilee, as well as policing football matches and environmental protests.

'Appropriate occasion'

Clyde was bought by Thames Valley Police in January 1994 from Broadstone Stud in north Oxfordshire.

Sgt John Thurston, of the Thames Valley Police Mounted Section, said: "As this will be his final tour of duty, we felt it was an appropriate occasion to present him with a commendation.

"Despite having reached the age of 21, Clyde still believes he is four years old.

"This was proved in 2009 when the clerk to the course at Ascot gave permission for the police horses to canter up the course to the four-furlong mark after the final race on the last day of Royal Ascot.

"He managed to beat far younger horses and came a commendable third.

Mr Thurston said although Clyde was "still an excellent police horse, we owe it to Clyde to give him a well deserved retirement".

He added: "This will be his last Ascot, with a view to retiring him to The Horse Trust in Speen, Buckinghamshire, in the next few weeks."

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