Police horse picks new name
Police horse picks a new name. Picture: Simon Santi/The West Australian

The newest addition to the WA Police mounted section finally has a name – Zulu.

The NSW-bred Clydesdale-cross gelding, formerly known as “No Name”, chose his new moniker at a ceremony in Maylands this morning.

Five names were selected from more than 15,000 Facebook suggestions and placed on a feed bucket for the horse to choose.

The field included Riley, Zulu, Anzac, Dave and Dewey.

With an endearing white ‘sock’ on his left hind leg and tuft of grey hair between his eyes, the horse with no name was reluctant to leave the police trainer’s side before making a beeline for the bucket emblazoned ‘Anzac’.

A gasp from the crowd was met with a sudden change in direction, as the animal veered right and landed on Zulu.

“I’m very happy – he was very decisive,” Sen. Sgt Glen Potter said afterwards.

“He did look towards Anzac and I think the crowd got a bit excited and then he just decided ‘no, it’s going to be Zulu' and he stayed with that bucket.”

The name “Zulu” was first nominated by Abigail Brody, who failed to join the other finalists at this morning’s event.

Ms Brody received prizes for her troubles, including a photo opportunity with Zulu and her name written on the horse’s plaque at the mounted section stables.

Sen. Sgt Potter said it would be at least eight months before Zulu was ready for frontline duty.

“That gives us plenty of time to allow him to keep growing,” he said.

“He’s five years old now, he’s a bigger breed, and age six or seven is usually when they stop growing.

“He’s looking at a career that could span 20 years or more, so time is really on his side.”

Sen. Sgt Potter handpicked Zulu after a trip to Tamworth. The horse needed to put on 100kg before being fit to make the 10-day trip to WA.

“He was taken out of a herd of about 300 and then chosen from a group of 40,” Sen. Sgt Potter said.

“I saw he had something a little bit extra.”

The word “Zulu” refers to the Bantu people of south-eastern Africa, occupying the coastal region of KwaZulu within the province of KwaZulu-Natal.

According to the website South African History Online, the Zulu language, of which there are variations, is part of the Nguni language group.

Zulu translates to "sky", and according to oral history, Zulu was the name of the ancestor who founded the Zulu royal line in about 1670.

Today it is estimated that there are more than 45 million South Africans, and the Zulu people make up about approximately 22 per cent of this number.

The West Australian

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