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President’s Bodyguard Virat's service comes to an end; likely to be retained at Rashtrapati Bhawan

“Virat is our finest horse. It is true that he has been retired but we would like to keep him with ourselves,” an officer said. 

Virat to Darmi to Heena: Animals that were awarded COAS Commendation Card on January 15-dnm
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New Delhi, First Published Jan 28, 2022, 4:51 PM IST

New Delhi: The trustworthy horse of President’s Bodyguard — Virat has been superannuated from the Service after serving the Nation for 19 years. 

Joined the service in 2000, the horse has been enthralling the audience, including the foreigners for over a decade during the national ceremonies and equestrian events as well. 

Indian Army chief Gen MM Naravane had honoured him with Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Commendation Card during Army Day parade on January 15. 

What next for Virat?

Generally, the horses which retire from the service are sent to Remount Training School and Depot, Hempur in Uttarakhand and Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh. 

Considering Virat as a special case, the President’s Bodyguard will take up the case with hierarchies to keep him with themselves at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. 

The PBG will take care of everything, including medical one and all the expenses to be borne by them only. 

“Virat is our finest horse. It is true that he has been retired but we would like to keep him with ourselves,” an officer said. 

On being asked about the any perks or pensions to the retired horse gets, the official said, “There is nothing like that.” 

Also read: In a first, 1000 'Make in India' drones set to enthrall audience with background music at Beating Retreat

61 Cavalry’s horse Rio

Last year, Rio had participated for 18th time and created history. He was participating in the parade since he was four. Last year he turned 22. 

Rio had carried the contingent commander on his back for fifteen times. 

Generally, at the age of 20, the horses retire from service. But Rio is still active and cantering along. 

The officials had taken up the matter with higher authorities to keep him in the unit. 

Talking to Asianet Newsable, an official of 61 Cavalry said, “Rio is in unit. He is resting and enjoying.” 

Rio was the first horse to get COAS Commendation Card last year.

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