The longest serving horse in the British Army passes away

The longest serving and oldest horse in the British Army has peacefully passed away on 1st October 2013. He was in retirement at The Horse Trust, a charity that has been providing retirement and respite for military and other working horses since it was founded in the 19th Century.

Remus, a truly remarkable horse, began his service in 1991 as a four year old and served for an incredible twenty one years until 2012 when, at the grand age of twenty six, he retired to The Horse Trust. Remus, fondly known in the army as Reg, started as a Troop horse in the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, and latterly as an Officer’s Charger of the Household Division. Despite being 16hh (and half an inch!) and the smallest charger when he retired, ‘feisty’ Remus had the biggest personality by far! Officers were warned to ‘approach with caution’ as Remus is well known for being stubborn and a bit tricky to handle. When it was time for Remus to retire, the army scanned his micro-chip to double check it was him as he looked so amazing for his age!

Remus (right) during his working days
Remus (right) during his working days

Although everyone was careful to never take him for granted, Remus did mellow in his retirement and was loved by everyone, particularly by his groom Carly. As is the case with many older horses, Remus suffered with chronic arthritis which had become worse and recently he had been struggling to move without pain. Vets and staff at The Horse Trust made the difficult decision that it would be kinder to say farewell to this special horse before the cold of winter further affected his joints. Sadly, in the same week, The Horse Trust also said goodbye to one of its most popular residents whose coffin joint arthritis had deteriorated in recent weeks. Our Chester was an eventing horse before he joined the army in 1994 where he became the Riding Master’s Charger at The Household Cavalry Mounted Section. It was said that riding Chester was like sitting in the middle of a very comfortable sofa! His rider, former Riding Master of The Household Cavalry, Sandy Sanderson said “Our Chester was my charger for most of his career; he was a brilliant horse and a true gentleman. The Horse Trust has a strong bond with The Household Cavalry Mounted Section and it is wonderful to know that so many horses can retire there to the peaceful countryside”.

Remus upon arrival at The Horse Trust for his retirement in 2012

The Horse Trust has a long history of working alongside the British Army. During the First World War, they provided the first ever motorised horse ambulance to help transport wounded horses from the front line in France. The ambulance travelled 13,000 miles in just 2 years and carried over 1,000 horses to veterinary hospitals where they could be treated. The War Office commissioned more and by the end of the war fourteen of these vehicles were in operation in France, saving many thousands of horse’s lives. After the war, The Horse Trust retired horses that had served on the front line and today this work continues as military horses come to the beautiful Chiltern countryside for their retirement.

The Horse Trust is proud of its relationship with the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment and providing horses like Remus and Our Chester with a home in their retirement after a lifetime of service is a privilege. After working hard, these horses are given the opportunity to relax entirely, and return to a life of just being a horse. The Horse Trust relies entirely on donations to fund its work.

Our Chester during his retirement at The Horse Trust
Our Chester during his retirement at The Horse Trust

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