Rescue police horse called Wilbur chosen to lead King’s Coronation procession

A rescue police horse known for his calm temperament has been chosen to lead the King’s Coronation procession.

Twelve-year-old Wilbur and his rider Inspector Alex McDonagh, right, will act as “pointer” ahead of mounted officers and hundreds of soldiers, many on horseback, from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey and then back again after the ceremony.

Despite being mistreated as a foal in Ireland before being rehomed, the stallion is known for his calmness and his rider says Wilbur won’t be scared if protesters attempt to disrupt the event.

Insp McDonagh said: “To have your horse at the very front of the Coronation is incredible.

“We ask Wilbur to go against all of his natural instincts — he doesn’t back off if faced by crowds, someone running at him or the noise. He’s a loyal friend, definitely more than some people.”

Insp McDonagh plans to reward Wilbur with his favourite treat, some Polo mints, when he gets back to the force’s stables at Great Scotland Yard in Whitehall.

Wilbur and his rider Inspector Alex McDonagh (Supplied)
Wilbur and his rider Inspector Alex McDonagh (Supplied)

“Wilbur loves Polos and with the two rehearsals this week already, he’s done very well. If it all goes well on Saturday, he can have a multipack,” she said.

Insp McDonagh revealed the horse recently recovered from back pain to be ready for this weekend. It is only his second ceremonial role since the late Queen’s Platinum Jubilee last year.

The Mounted Branch’s grey horses have led royal processions for many years.