Grace and Keston receive the PDSA Order of Merit
Two Metropolitan Police horses trained to perform a host of public order and specialist roles have been honoured by leading veterinary charity, PDSA.
Grace and Keston, who joined the Force in 2004 and 2007 respectively, received the PDSA Order of Merit in recognition of their “tireless devotion and outstanding service to society”.
The equine pair formally received their medals at Hampton Court Palace, together with their riders, Police Constable Helen Ridge and Police Sergeant Craig Richards. Keston sadly passed away earlier this year, so Police Horse Tempest received the medal on his behalf.
Commenting on the awards, PDSA director general, Jan McLoughlin, said: “It is with great pride that we award Grace and Keston with the PDSA Order of Merit today. They both had long, exemplary careers, giving tireless devotion and outstanding service to society.
“Through the PDSA Animal Awards programme, we seek to raise the status of animals in society and honour the incredible contribution they make to our lives. Grace and Keston’s extraordinary work warrants the highest recognition, making them worthy recipients of the PDSA Order of Merit.”
Grace and Keston were specially trained to cope with the most extreme nuisance and noise and react without question to their riders. For more than a decade, the pair were involved in escorting the military, attending football matches and providing support during public disorder incidents.
Grace retired in 2019 but continues to be stabled at Imber Court, where she provides training and support to younger horses. Keston passed away in January 2019 not long after being retired from regular roles.
Craig Richards, who nominated Grace and Keston for their awards, said: “Grace and Keston were the perfect Police Horses, performing impeccably during their lengthy careers. They often worked in challenging and hostile situations, ignoring distractions and dangers, never faltering in their duty. They were a pleasure to ride and are a credit to the Force.
“The Metropolitan Police has a proud tradition of receiving medals from PDSA for the contribution our animals make to society. It is a huge honour for Grace and Keston to be awarded the PDSA Order of Merit. I’m incredibly sad that Keston is no longer with us to receive his honour, but having their actions recognised in this way is truly fantastic and I am immensely proud of everything they both achieved.”
The PDSA Order of Merit honours animals who show outstanding devotion to their owner or wider society, going above and beyond normal companionship. It also represents an exceptional example of the special relationship between animals and humans.
Grace and Keston take the total number of PDSA Order of Merit recipients to 30, including 18 dogs and 12 horses.
Image (C) PDSA