World Horse Welfare’s horse to retire from world famous King’s Troop


World Horse Welfare Penny was checked by the charity’s London Field Officer for the last time, before she retires from the King's Troop.

World Horse Welfare's Penny at the King's Troop

Yesterday, World Horse Welfare held their Chairman’s Circle Event in London at the Kings Troops’ new barracks in Woolwich, where World Horse Welfare’s rehomed horse, Penny was checked by the charity’s London Field Officer for the last time, before she retires from her almost 12-year service in the troop.

Emaciated and lice infested at only four years old, Penny was the youngest of the four Irish Draught mares saved from appalling conditions by World Horse Welfare back in March 2001.

When the mares were found they were either up to their hocks in a muddy grassless field, or on two feet of muck 24 hours a day in roofless stables. All were suffering from malnutrition, worm infestation and lice and in urgent need of attention to their teeth and feet.

Penny was totally unhandled and extremely difficult to manage.  She trusted no one and was almost impossible to treat.

After 6 months of rehabilitation, much patience and understanding, the centre staff slowly built up a relationship with her. 

As the thin, scruffy, bay filly was the very first unnamed animal taken into Penny Farm, she was given the name Penny, after Penny Thornton the benefactor whose generosity enabled the Centre to be built.

She was nursed back to health by the charity’s original farm manager, Tony Fleming and later made headlines by successfully being rehomed with the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery through Tony’s connections, having previously served in the King’s Troop for 25 years himself.

World Horse Welfare’s London Field Officer, Nick White, visited Penny at the barracks for the last time.

He said: “Penny, now named Hallmark by the troops, is a credit to World Horse Welfare and The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery.

“Working daily on the streets of London, helping to pull one of the R.H.A’s field guns requires an even temperament, soundness and a high degree of fitness.

“It is hard to imagine that as a young horse she had such a bad start.

“In weak condition, diseased, miserable and abandoned - but despite this and after rescue and rehabilitation by World Horse Welfare she completed her training with the King’s Troop R.H.A.

“Penny/Hallmark has since performed on countless ceremonial occasions in a career of over ten years.

“As the London field officer it has been a privilege to visit Penny/Hallmark and follow her career. I will look forward to now visiting her back at Penny Farm.”

World Horse Welfare’s International Programme Officer and Master Saddler, Stuart Russell, gave a presentation on his role in the King’s Troop and how he now uses his skills to ensure that horses are used responsibly in other parts of the world.

Stuart Russell gives a presentation at the Kings Troop

Stuart said:  “The skills that I required in the army while serving in the King’s Troop for 22 years gave me the foundation to how I approach my work now with principles of saddlery and harnesses for the horses that I work with at World Horse Welfare.

“It was a privilege to talk to the Chairman’s Circle today about both my work within the troop and the application of those skills in Mexico, Romania, The Gambia, Lesotho, Guatemala, Senegal and Honduras - where I see some of the most distressing cases of poor horse welfare.”

The King’s Troop unit had been stationed at St John’s Wood since its formation in 1947, but just recently they moved to a new purpose built equestrian training facility and accommodation centre in Woolwich, so it seemed like the perfect place for an exciting event.

World Horse Welfare and members of the Chairman’s Circle, a group open to all supporters offering them the chance to join a number of special events throughout the year, received a behind the scenes tour of the new barracks - and got to watch Penny who was rehomed to the Kings Troops nearly 12 years ago, perform in the draft parade.

Penny is due to retire from the King’s Troop in September and return to Penny Farm for rehoming.

Sign up to World Horse Welfare’s Chairman’s Circle.