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Hexam, Captain and Tangle

Hexam, Captain and Tangle braved fireworks and smoke bombs to prevent violent clashes between football fans after a match at Old Trafford.

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In the closing stages of a match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford in March, officers outside received reports of fighting inside the ground. Tensions were high as fans left the stadium, and police horses were deployed to keep rival fans apart.

As the away car park filled with fans, some surged forward to try and get to Manchester United fans on the forecourt of the stadium. Hexam and Tangle were deployed to hold them back, and Captain later joined them.

As they moved the fans back toward the car park, some threw fireworks and smoke bombs, but the horses held their ground.
Cara Charlesworth of Greater Manchester Police says: “This tactic requires six horses so each horse had to double their efforts in order to be effective. The horses were placed in a very challenging situation and I believe they performed above and beyond what should be expected of them.”

Despite missiles flying overhead, the horses stayed calm and in place to prevent the disorder spilling over to areas where the vast majority of fans, including families with children, were leaving the stadium.

After quelling the disorder, just five minutes later Hexam, Captain and Tangle were on the forecourt allowing children to pet them and pose for photographs.

On the last day of the season, the same three horses were involved in the safe evacuation of 75,000 United and Bournemouth fans after a fake bomb was discovered at Old Trafford,