A “brave” police horse has been crowned Petplan Hero of the Year, following a lengthy career that saw him play a vital role in managing some of the most violent areas of police work.

Finsbury, a large grey Thoroughbred/draft cross, served the mounted divisions of the Royal Parks Police and the Metropolitan Police in London.

His deployments include the 2011 London riots, football matches at famous venues like Wembley, Arsenal and Chelsea, as well as the Olympics and community visits.

TOCK IMAGE Police horses on patrol in busy London. Photo: Matthew Roberts

“Finsbury has worked tirelessly policing events,” said PC Elizabeth Keyte, who nominated the grey. “His service to the public and police was exemplary and his bravery shown during his years deserves this accolade.”

He was regularly the Mounted Inspector’s horse of choice, confidently negotiated London’s busy roads and was kind enough for even novice riders to learn on him.

In her nomination, PC Keyte said Finsbury could be relied upon to be “the most steadfast, unflustered mount who would lead his herd of four-legged colleagues into a hostile crowd”.

Proof of this was at the Lambeth County Show in 2017, when mounted officers were called upon to clear an area of rival gangs fighting and attacking police.

Finsbury with his fellow retired police horses. Photo: Elizabeth Keyte

Finsbury led the way and was hit by a large bottle. This would be an unsettling time for any horse, but Finsbury continued forward and held steady. He was uninjured.

The missile thrower was identified and later convicted at court.

Finsbury is now enjoying his retirement in Kent, where he lives with two fellow retired police horses under the care of PC Keyte. The trio share a field with an orphaned calf and chickens.

“During the time in the police they spend most of their time indoors and in full work, so to live their life out and enjoy the fresh air is just great to see,” said PC Keyte.