The Metropolitan Police Activity Ride

The Metropolitan Police Activity Ride at Bucks County Show 2018

The Metropolitan Police Activity Ride

The Metropolitan Police Mounted Branch has a long and distinguished history.

Sir John Fielding, the Bow Street Magistrate who wanted to stop highwaymen troubling residents and visitors to London as they travelled to and from the fast growing city, originally created Peace Officers in 1758.  These were the famous ‘Redbreasts’, so called because they wore red waistcoats and they were very successful in curbing thefts and robberies around the turnpikes.  The Metropolitan Police themselves were formed in 1829 and the Mounted Peace Officer became part of the Metropolitan Police in 1836.  Their role has clearly developed and changed since then but they will always have an important part to play in the work of the Metropolitan Police.

There is an intensive selection process for serving officers if they want to join the Mounted Branch.  They must have served for at least two years before applying and they undergo a riding assessment, a fitness test and interview before attending a 16-week initial equitation course.  This course covers all aspects of equestrianism where officers are assessed and examined every four weeks, and after passing the final exam, a pass out parade takes place in front of family and friends.  Annual refresher courses continue the training and further national qualifications are available to all suitable officers.

The horses themselves undergo a four week trial at Imber Court and if suitable and showing potential, they are purchased.  There is a three stage training programme ~ red, amber and green.  This usually last about six months where the horses are exposed to and familiarized with all the hazards, sights and sounds they will experience as a London Police Horse.

The elements of the  Activity Ride that you will see demonstrated appear by kind permission of the Commissioner of The Metropolitan Police Sir Paul Stephenson. It is led by Inspector Danny Butler, the Training Inspector and provides a fast moving display demonstrating a high level of skill and agility from both the horses and the officers.  Inch perfect timing, total commitment, professionalism and complete trust are required for this ride and it will show everybody the abilities of a working police horse.

All the horses will return to duty after the show where they will help keep London safe.  They patrol in all the London boroughs, manage large crowds at football matches or demonstrations, and provide security at Central London events.