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R-Day: Virat, elite horse of President’s Bodyguard retires; President Kovind, PM Modi bid farewell

Prime Minister Narendra Modi bidding farewell to Virat, the President's Bodyguard Commandant's horse who retired today

As President Ram Nath Kovind was escorted back to Rashtrapati Bhavan on Wednesday after the culmination of the 73rd Republic Day celebrations on Rajpath in attendance was Virat, the horse in the President's Bodyguard, who was retiring after 13 years of service.

President Kovind was joined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh as they bid farewell to the trusty steed, which participated in its last Republic Day parade at Rajpath in the national capital. Virat was awarded the Chief of the Army Staff Commendation earlier this year on the occasion of Army Day and is the first horse to receive the commendation card for exceptional service and abilities.

It is unique and distinct as Virat was the first horse of President's Bodyguard being conferred with this award exclusively for his role as "charger".

This magnificent dark bay charger of the Presidents Bodyguard arrived in 2003 at age of three from Remount Training School and Depot, Hempur and soon became a cynosure of all eyes.

His elegance, grace and natural beauty coupled with sublime nature made him everyones favourite.

On several occasions in the past, Virat, as Commandants Charger, has been escorting the President for Republic Day parades as well as receiving the visiting Heads of States during ceremonial receptions at Rashtrapati Bhavan for the last 13 years.

Despite horses being flight animals, it was his flamboyant attitude and independent nature that made Virat a fearless horse ready to lead all parades. Virat's ability to listen to the faintest of whispers of his rider amidst the clamorous cheering on Rajpath during Republic Day Parade made him the most trusted horse. His flowing mane, dazzling tail, a natural high arch of head with a soft eye that could melt any heart earned him the title of the King amongst the PBG horses.

The PBG announced the retirement of Virat after the conclusion of the Republic Day parade and said the horse shall continue to adorn the stables of PBG till he breathes his last.