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Sefton (horse)

Sefton was an army horse stabled at Knightsbridge Barracks with the Household Cavalry.

Sefton joined the British Army in 1967 starting as a riding school horse, and he quickly became a favorite among new recruits. By 1975 he had joined the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment. This was a remarkable feat because at the time the regiment only allowed black horses[citation needed]; Sefton had a white blaze and white socks.


The IRA bombing

On 20 July 1982 at 10:40am Sefton was en route to the Changing of the Guard, with 15 other horses from his regiment. The morning tradition was shattered when a nail bomb planted by the IRA detonated nearby, killing 11 people and 7 horses, and injuring Sefton and 8 of his stablemates.

Sefton sustained serious injuries including a severed jugular vein, wounded left eye, and 34 wounds over his body. His rider Trooper Pederson noted that Sefton responded so bravely that when the bomb exploded there was no chance of being thrown. After dismounting, Pederson, who was still in full state kit and in severe shock, could do little to help. Another soldier, one of scores who had run down from the barracks after hearing the huge bang, took off his shirt and used it to apply pressure to Sefton's severe neck wound.[citation needed]

The recovery

Sefton endured 8 hours of surgery, a record length for horse surgery in 1982[citation needed]. Each of his 34 wounds had its own special challenge; some included dislodging shrapnel from bone. That evening after surgery the veterinarians caring for him gave him a 50/50 chance of surviving the shock and extreme blood loss. Over the next months he made continual progress and his nurse was quoted 'He took everything in his stride'[citation needed]. During his time in the hospital he received huge quantities of get well soon cards, mints, and donations reaching almost $1,000,000 were collected to construct a new surgical wing at Royal Veterinary College which was named the Sefton Surgical Wing.[citation needed]

The hero

Sefton returned to his duties with his regiment, and with pricked ears and no fuss he passed the exact spot where he received such horrific injuries[citation needed]. That year he was awarded Horse of the Year, and with Pederson back in the saddle took center stage at the Horse of the Year Show, to a standing ovation.

On August 29 1984 Sefton retired from the Household Cavalry, and moved to the Home of Rest For Horses at Speen, Buckinghamshire. There he became an instant attraction and was noted for his love of rolling in the mud. At the age of 30 Sefton died a national hero.

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