Only a race horse. Tribute to troop horse star.




OIC Kirsten McFadden  with Scott Brodie, trainer of star and former NSW Mounted Police  officer .13th January 2012 commemoration cerimony for troop horse “Star “who died on duty. His former rider is the man slumped at the back of the photo. Bill Adam .

if you ride a horse and don’t learn something you have waisted an important part of the ride. Every horse teaches us something, some teach us more. Star was one of my great equine teachers. He was not selected for his temperament, one day I was told to pick a horse from a bunch of horses we had on trial as money had become available to make a purchase, hesitation would have seen the money used elsewhere. None had shown aptitude as police horses so I pulled a name out of a hat, “Star”, challenging but inspirational, I can’t thank him enough for the lessons he gave me as a rider. He should never have made it but he did, even winning the best performance by a police horse at Sydney royal show.

He came no more than a race horse,
With really not much of a chance,
For all that he knew when he came here
Was to pull like a steam train and dance.

But a picture of horse flesh he stood there
Coat of auburn and tail of black.
Was he destined to make police horse
Or maybe a heavyweight hack?

Though he seemed slightly edgy… attentive.
Not a thing passed his wild brown eyes.
He stood like a rock and inspected
Any thing that appeared by surprise.

A trait that is rare amongst horses
Resistant to hasten to flight.
He stood there with nervous persistence
Until he was sure things were right.

And so with a sensitive rider,
Who was willing to let him inspect
A bond could be formed, an alliance
A bastion of mutual respect.

Then on to the street to start working
From green fields to concrete and tar,
With an air of importance, majestic,
A model police horse was Star.

Excelled on the show ground at Easter
At demo and rally and fair.
He strode into brawl, fray and fracas.
Where some hesitated to dare.

But the risks of the city are many,
Not always those we would expect
Sometimes even vigilant riders
Can fail their mount to protect.

As simple as slipping and falling
On surfaces burnished and tough,
Immune to an equine enforcers
righteousness, presence or bluff.

And so the demise of a great horse
Who rallied and toiled for us all
An unfortunate innocent victim
Of something as trife as a fall.

So salute to a warhorse of honour
Intelligence, courage and grace
And salute his devastated rider
The anguished despair on his face.



A Plaque at the site of stars death in east Sydney honours his contribution to the New South Wales Police Force.

Star was foaled in 1988 and was bought by the NSW Police Force on 20 May 1996. Before his career in the NSW Police Force he was a thoroughbred race horse known as Coolah. He served as a valuable member of the NSW Mounted Police Unit for nearly eight years, dying at the age of 16 following an incident at Woolloomooloo.

Just after 9pm on 13 February 2004 police were conducting patrols of the Woolloomooloo area on troop horses ‘Star’ and ‘Hero’ when the tragic incident occurred. Troop horse Star was being ridden up a kerb on McElhone Street when one of his hind legs slipped on the gutter causing him to fall. During the incident Star tried to re-gain his footing when his rear leg got caught in the grate of a drain and broke. William Adam the  Constable, who was riding Star, was thrown from the horse before he and his colleague came to his aid. Sadly Star’s injuries were so serious that he had to be put down at the scene.

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