An Armidale-trained horse has been selected to work in the NSW Police Mounted Unit

HORSING AROUND: Regal, now named Beersheba horse owner Christine McClelland and her dog Cindy. Photo: Madeline Link.
HORSING AROUND: Regal, now named Beersheba horse owner Christine McClelland and her dog Cindy. Photo: Madeline Link.

HE’S the horse who hadn’t been ridden in years.

Now, Beersheba is the latest recruit to the oldest continuous Mounted Police Unit in the world – thanks to strict dressage training in Armidale.

Christine McClelland bought Regal, now named Beersheba, from her neighbour two years ago.

“He wasn’t being worked, initially my neighbour bought him for her daughter – but she went to the coast for university for four years,” Ms McClelland said.

“My neighbour got in touch with me and said “We need to do something with this horse,” so I said I’d take him.”

Re-named after the 1917 Battle of Beersheba, the Warmblood commemorates 100 years since the war on October 31.

Known as the last successful cavalry charge in the world, the battle was won by 800 horses and their Lighthorsemen in the Egyptian desert.

Formed in 1825, Beersheba’s new job is with the NSW Police Mounted Unit, in Sydney.

Today there are only 34 horses in the Mounted Unit, and the selection criteria is tough.

HORSE POWER: Armidale trainer Christine McClelland rides Regal, now named Beersheba.

HORSE POWER: Armidale trainer Christine McClelland rides Regal, now named Beersheba.

Unbroken horses are preferred, all geldings, bay in colour with thoroughbred qualities.

The horse must stand at 15.3 hands, be blemish-free, have an intelligent head and be between three and five-years-old.

The police will take the horses for a three month trial, many are sent back.

And, Ms McClelland had her doubts about Regal making the cut.

“Temperament is a big thing, I actually said to the lady who bought him that I didn’t know if he would suit because I thought he might be too quiet,” she said.

“I never expected this to happen, it’s just extraordinary, it’s really an amazing thing.

“Apparently he never put a foot wrong and he’s their number one horse.”

Ms McClelland has been riding horses for as long as she can remember.

“I put two years work on Regal, which is what helped him prepare for his new role,” she said.

“If he had just stayed out in the paddock I don’t think they would have taken him.

“But to have a local horse selected to be a representative horse of the Light Horse, it’s just amazing.”