The longest serving police horse is preparing to hang up his horseshoes and enjoy retirement after 16 years service.
Oakwell, whose stable name is George, is the longest serving horse in the Mounted Section and will work his final shift on March 30.
Thesparky grey gelding was born on May 8, 1996 and arrived at South Yorkshire Police several years later on November 6 2002.
Once horses arrive at the unit, it is tradition for them to be named after a local town, village or district and George was quickly given the name Oakwell.
Temporary Police Sergeant David Driver joined the Mounted Section in the same year as Oakwell and says his departure will leave a big hole in the force.
He said: “Oakwell, or George as we call the old boy, is part of the furniture. I arrived at the same time as him and we have worked closely together, as colleagues.
“That is what Police horses are; they are your colleagues who you build trusting, working relationships with.
“He has been fantastic and deserves to hang up his horseshoes and have a happy retirement after 16 years of hard work and faithful service to the force.
“He hasn’t put a hoof wrong and has attended hundreds of events and incidents over the years, showing himself to be a first-rate police horse. He turns 23 shortly after he leaves us, so he’s definitely ready to retire.”
During his service, Oakwell has gone through 188 sets of horseshoes and eaten his way through 87,600kg of hay. He’s also taken part in 154 training sessions.
He has also become a familiar face at football grounds across South Yorkshire and the UK, and even supported the policing of the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Since Oakwell came into service, the Mounted Unit has bought 17 other horses, nine of which have retired before him.