Pony mascot celebrates Veteran’s badge with beer

Major Oliver Dobson, left, and Pony Major Corporal Mark Wilkinson give Cruachan III a treat. Picture: Mark Owens
Major Oliver Dobson, left, and Pony Major Corporal Mark Wilkinson give Cruachan III a treat. Picture: Mark Owens
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You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink – however, for colleagues of army veteran Cruachan III, it poses neigh problem at all.

The 24-year-old Shetland pony likes nothing more than to unwind with a cold one after a hard day’s work. And now he has something to be celebrating to boot.

Described by the Queen as her favourite, he has received his official Veteran’s badge after almost two decades of military service.

Cruachan, who stands at just 90cm tall, has led a colourful career as a military mascot after leading the Royal Regiment of Scotland at dozens of Highland games, fairs and military parades.

The popular pony, who has an unusually content temperament for the species, was presented his badge by Major Oliver Dobson, Officer Commanding Balaklava Company 5 SCOTS (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) at Redford Barracks.

When Cruachan III retired last year, he was replaced by Cruachan IV, a slightly larger pony who took up the mascot role.

Cruachan III served as mascot for the Royal Regiment of Scotland for 19 years, and even in retirement he prefers to remain as companion to the new horse on the block during official events.

His handler Pony Major Corporal Mark Wilkinson said: “Cruachan IV prefers his pal to be with him. We had both on the opening of the General Assembly. The old fellow could be heard “neighing” for his pal a quarter of a mile away during the parade.”

Cruachan isn’t the first city animal to serve in the armed forces who likes a drink – Wojtek the bear served with the Polish Army in the Second World War before living out his days at Edinburgh Zoo.

The 6ft bear famously drank beer and smoked cigarettes given to him by soldiers.