Memorial Service for Police Horse Touches Toronto

More than 1,500 people honored the memory of Brigadier, an equine member of the Metro Toronto Police mounted unit who was tragically killed in the line of duty, by attending a special memorial service in downtown Toronto on Monday, March 6.




(Top) Brigadier and Constable Ted Gallipeau. (Middle) Flowers outside Brigadier's stall and (bottom) letters from children to Constable Kevin Bradfield, who was riding Brigadier when he was hit. 

Visit Anne de Haas' photo tribute to Brigadier at

Dignitaries including Ontario's Lt. Governor, James Bartleman, Toronto mayor David Miller, and the Toronto Chief of Police Bill Blair were joined by hundreds of police officers and other service personnel, some from as far away as Vancouver, B.C. In addition to an eight-horse honor guard from the Metro Toronto unit, officers and horses from the Kingston, Ontario, and Niagara Regional mounted police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the Governor General's Horse Guards also attended. 

Brigadier, a 9-year-old Belgian cross, is credited with saving the life of his rider, Constable Kevin Bradfield, when he bore the brunt of what was allegedly a deliberate head-on collision by the enraged driver of a minivan on the evening of Feb. 24 in Toronto's east end. Both of the chestnut's front legs were shattered, and police officers had to euthanatize him at the scene.

Bradfield suffered broken ribs and minor neck and leg injuries, but had recovered sufficiently to attend the service and speak on behalf of his partner in law enforcement. In a voice that broke several times with emotion, he said, “Brig taught me about the bond between officer and horse. I am grateful for the chance to say goodbye to my partner, and to tell him that being in the saddle will never be the same.”

Brigadier's death marks only the second time in memory that a Metro Toronto police horse has been killed in the line of duty. His are big shoes to fill, literally and figuratively. In addition to being one of the mounted unit's most experienced and trusted horses, he was a valued member of the drill team and had represented Toronto with honor at mounted police competitions across North America for three years. 

His breeder, David Carson of Listowel, Ontario, has generously offered the Toronto police force the 3-year-old draft cross Darton as a replacement.

Brigadier's remains were cremated at the Ontario Veterinary College, where a special fund to support clinical care for horses has been set up in his memory. To make a donation online, visit and click on Brigadier Memorial Fund.










About the Author

Karen Briggs

Karen Briggs is the author of six books, including the recently updated Understanding Equine Nutrition as well as Understanding The Pony, both published by Eclipse Press. She's written a few thousand articles on subjects ranging from guttural pouch infections to how to compost your manure. She is also a Canadian certified riding coach, an equine nutritionist, and works in media relations for the harness racing industry. She lives with her band of off-the-track Thoroughbreds on a farm near Guelph, Ontario, and dabbles in eventing.

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with FREE weekly newsletters from Learn More