THE Horse Trust has issued a statement in response to the incident in Newcastle city centre where a man punched a police horse from the West Yorkshire mounted branch.

Newcastle United fans began rioting after their team lost against rivals Sunderland.

West Yorkshire Police have since issued a statement to say that the horse in question, Bud, was not harmed. The police officer riding Bud, and his colleagues on the ground, acted quickly to arrest the man and prevent further attempts to harm the horse.

Newcastle United said: “We were embarrassed and appalled by the behaviour of a minority of so-called fans who last night were involved in disturbances and disorder in Newcastle city centre after the match.”

It is estimated that in a crowd control situation, a police officer on horseback can do the job of 10-15 police officers on foot because of the horse’s physical mass and height advantage.

These police horses and their riders often risk serious injury to carry out their duties and protect the public.

The Horse Trust’s chief executive, Jeanette Allen, said: “The behavior of the football fan in this incident was both dangerous and idiotic. However, police horses are specially trained to cope with these kinds of situations and as we know, Bud has been unaffected by his ordeal.

“We are proud of our relationship with the mounted police officers who work so hard to protect the public and their property.

“We are proud and privileged to give police horses a dignified retirement at our home of rest when their working days are over.”

The Horse Trust is the only UK charity to specialise in providing retirement for police horses who have served their communities all over the country.

The Horse Trust’s Home of Rest, situated in the rolling Buckinghamshire countryside, provides a home for retired working horses from the military, police and charities that use horses to help unadvantaged and disabled children.

It also cares for horses, ponies and donkeys who have suffered severe neglect.