Archive for the ‘Mounted Police’ Category

Hamilton Ontario Mounted Police ride Smith-Worthington saddles

The Hamilton, Ontario mounted police ride on Smith-Worthington saddles. These saddles are basically the Ultimate Dressage saddle with modifications for police use. The Hamilton mounted unit, like other mounted units, participates in ceremonial occasions where their impressive horses add dignity and power. Here is a photo of the Hamilton

unit marching in the funeral procession of a fallen officer.

Mounted Police Unit in funeral procession

Hartford Mounted Police and their horses

While a couple of Hartford’s finest are longtime riders, many started riding as adults.  All of them are experienced police officers who have years of experience doing everything from patrolling the streets, to narcotics, to undercover operations. No one joins the force and immediately steps into the mounted unit — no matter how good they may ride. Their abilities as an officer must be proven first.

Each horse is selected and specially trained for temperment and soundness.  Not all horses pass the test just as not all officers pass the test.  Each horse must be calm and confident,  and able to respond instantly and accurately to the rider’s aids.  Since they are often used for ceremonial occasions, and crowd control at rock concerts they must be OK with sounds of gunfire, fireworks,  jets flying overhead, loud music, etc.  They must also be rock solid in the presence of school children.  Think “bombproof”.

When accepted into the unit, the officers and their mounts spend 6 weeks taking riding lessons. Then they spend several more weeks learning about the techniques used for crown control, traffic control and other police duties done on horseback.  Each officer is assigned a horse which they use exclusively. When the officer has a day off, so does their horse. They work 6 hour shifts, rain or shine.  During a shift the officer will rarely dismount. To place a parking ticket on the windshield of a car sometimes requires serious leaning to the side. The horse must not be disturbed by this “unbalance”.

Each officer is responsible for mucking out the stall of their horse. They also groom and pick out their horse’s feet.  Each officer also tacks up their own horse. As any horse person knows, these duties are part of bonding with your horse.   These officers and their mounts are in all ways….partners.