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FROM THE HORSES MOUTH

1. Where are the Police horses kept?
2. How many horses does the Mounted Unit have?
3. What type of horses does the Mounted Unit use?
3a. How much does your horse weight?
4. How does the Mounted Unit get its horses?
5. What requirements does a horse need to have to become a Police horse?
6. What training must a Police horse complete?
7. How does the Mounted Unit move its horses around?
8. How do I become a Mounted Unit Patrol Officer?
9. Can I visit the mounted horse barn?
10. Can I pet your horse?
11. Does your horse bite?
12. What is your horse's name?
13. Do you ever arrest anyone?
14. Do the Police horses kick?
15. Can I feed the horse?
16. What do Police horses eat?
17. Does the bit in the horse's mouth hurt the horse?
18. How do the horses get their shoes on?
19. Do the nails in the horse's hoof hurt?
20. Does the horse keep the officer warm in the winter?
21. Why do some Police horses have their manes shaved?
22. What happens to an old Police horse?

Q1. Where are the Police horses kept?
 A. The Police horses are stabled at the Youth Development Center on North River Road in Manchester.

Q2: How many horses does the Mounted Unit have?
 A. At present we have 2 horses, Shorty and Valor.

Q3: What type of horse does the Mounted Unit use?
 A. We have used two thoroughbred horses which have since been retired. Shorty is a seven year old Canadian Warmblood and Valor is a three year old Percheron. Both are geldings.

Q3a: How much does your horse weight?
A. Shorty is about 1500 lbs. Valor is about 1800 lbs.

Q4: How does the Mounted Unit get its horses?
 A. Over the years most of our horses have been either purchased or donated to the section.

Q5: What requirements does a horse need to have to become a Police horse?
 A. Police horses need to be of a good quiet nature but with the ability to work with large noisy crowds, traffic on the road and for long hours. We like our horses to be of a large imposing type, generally over 16.2hh, but horses of 16hh will be considered if they are very good in all other areas.

Q6: What training must a Police horse complete?
 A. All Police horses, and riders for that matter, have to be trained to cope with all aspects of police work covering patrolling, ceremonial parades, street parade and marches, bush searches and civil disorder situations. This is accomplished by training in street patrolling, nuisance, and civil disorder training.

Q7: How does the Mounted Unit move its horses around?
 A. The Mounted Unit has a four wheel drive truck that tows a two horse box trailer. We will sometimes trailer our horses to different areas of the City or we can ride them right from the stables. Horses are moved around the City on a daily basis for patrol, parades, etc.

Q8: How do I become a Mounted Unit Patrol Officer?
 A. All police officers who have completed a minimum of two years service are eligible to apply to come to the Mounted Unit. An officer would then submit a note to the Chief of Police stating that he/she would like to be considered for a position in the Mounted Unit. Vacancies in the Unit are then filled from these applicants.

Q9: Can I visit the mounted horse barn?
 A. Yes! Call the Manchester Police Department at 668-8711, ext. #437, to arrange a tour.

Q10: Can I pet your horse?
 A. Yes, our horses love attention! It is always polite to ask first though in the event we are assisting with a police call.

Q11: Does your horse bite?
 A. Generally no, but don't place your hand in its mouth. Horses have very large teeth!

Q12: What is your horse's name?
 A. If you ask the officer who is riding him, he will be happy to tell you what his mount's name is. Or if the horse is wearing a badge, the horse's name will be printed on it.

Q13: Do you ever arrest anyone?
 A. Yes, we have arrested people who have been taking illegal drugs in the parks, persons who are disorderly and others who break the law. We are required to perform our duties as any other police officer on the street.

Q14: Do the Police horses kick?
 A. It is very unlikely that one of our horses would kick, or they would not be in our unit. It is important to know that horses can kick at people or other animals. If you approach one of our horses, or any other horse, never approach from the rear as a horse has a hard time seeing behind him. Always walk up to a horse from the side.

Q15: Can I feed the horse?
 A. No. When you see our horses, they are working. They do eat plenty of food several times a day! Another important reason is that when horses receive treats, they tend to become "nippy" or "mouthy". Our horses visit with thousands of kids each year. We don't want them looking for treats. We would rather them look forward to being petted.

Q16: What do Police horses eat?
 A. Our horses eat grain, hay, oats, grass and for treats they eat apples and carrots. (They are very health conscious.)

Q17: Does the bit in the horse's mouth hurt the horse?
 A. No, the metal bar fits nicely in spaces left by mother nature between teeth and doesn't hurt unless the rider pulls to hard on the reins.

Q18: How do the horses get their shoes on?
 A. We have a local farrier who visits the barn. He works the iron shoes and nails, then fits the shoes to the horse.

Q19: Do the nails in the horse's hoof hurt?
 A. No. The hooves are just like our fingernails, except a bit stronger. There are no nerves that run through that part of the hoof, hence no pain to the horse.

Q20: Does the horse keep the officer warm in the winter?
 A. No. The horse's body heat is absorbed by the saddle and blanket. None of his heat is transmitted to the rider. When it is 20 degrees out, we wish we could have some of that heat!!

Q21: Why do some Police horses have their manes shaved?
 A. One reason is for uniformity. Another is crowd control situations. It is one less thing someone can grab on to, that would distract the horse from doing his job.

Q22: What happens to an old Police horse?
 A. Police horses are retired usually for one or more of the following reasons:
- The animal became sick, injured, or not safe for man or horse to do police work.
- The animal is too old, unable to be used safely (health & safety).
- The animal developed an unsafe behavior (safety).

The challenge is to find new owners that understand the special needs of a former police horse. The 1200 LB+ animals have been trained and experienced in their life to react in specific ways to what happens around them and may not be good family candidates. The ideal caretaker should have personal training to respond to, or lead the horse's behavior-because the horse will revert to learned behaviors in a given situation.