Horse People

A Gift Horse

Crosswalk at Richmond Police Stable
Crosswalk at Richmond Police Stable

One of the many things I love about my city, Richmond VA, is our mounted police unit. (That’s not to say I love the tickets I’ve gotten from them in years past, but then again I look at parking tickets and overdue library fines the same way – a little extra something in the community chest. Think what would happen to the city’s revenue if EVERYBODY moved their cars after two hours or turned their books in on time. Plus, it’s actually kind of fun to accept a ticket from a great looking guy or gal on a horse. What’s that word they use in New Orleans for an unexpected treat? Right. Lagniappe. A ticket from a horse cop…sort of a Richmond lagniappe. )
Police Stable on Brook Road
Police Stable on Brook Road

Today hundreds of people turned out to meet three new geldings that have been donated to the Richmond police force. With the introduction of Beau, Turbo Diesel, and Howie the mounted squad doubles from three to six horses. Hooray for our new horse-friendly police chief, Bryan Norwood!

In our city, community policing is important, and the horse squad seems like a fantastic way to build trust and relations with city residents. One of the officers I spoke with today said that every time he goes out with Raleigh, a spotted draft, people just swarm up to them wanting to talk or pat Raleigh.

Markings on Raleigh an 18 hand, 1900 lb, 5 year old spotted draft gelding
Markings on Raleigh an 18 hand, 1900 lb, 5 year old gelding

The big crowd and good vibe of today’s “open barn” shows how horses can create a friendly bridge between the public and the police department. This afternoon, officers taught kids how to feed horses carrots and happily answered questions about their work and their equine partners.

Just doing my duty.
Just doing my duty.\
Making Friends
Making Friends

Mostly, I’ve seen the mounted squad downtown. Today, I learned that the squad also keeps a presence at Stony Point Fashion Park during the Christmas season, Carytown on New Year’s Eve, Bryant Park, Byrd Park, Shockoe Bottom, and The Fan. You know, I bet police horses are great for working festivals, too. If one of the keys to crowd control is keeping everyone chilled out, then it seems like the presence of horses probably makes for happier events.

Speaking of events, the Friends of the the Richmond Mounted Squad (FRMS) will sponsor their 2009 FRMS Fun & Pleasure show on August 16, 2009 at Dorey Park (in Henrico County). The show starts at 9:00 a.m. and includes thirty-six Hunter, Western, and fun classes.

Leaving the Police Stable
Leaving the Police Stable

5 thoughts on “A Gift Horse

  1. We hope you all will come out to the FRMS Horse Show this Sunday (8/16) at Dorey Park for some more equine interaction as well as interaction with officers and other horse exhibitors and enthusiasts. The Friends of the Richmond Mounted Squad which has been in existence since 1991, appreciates all the positive feedback; we look forward to more opportunities to meet with you in the future.


  2. Craig and Anne,
    I’m with y’all – police horses really are a special group. Our RMP also lead an autumn ride through the city for horse enthusiasts. Maybe, I’ll join them this year.
    Thanks for your great comments!


  3. I absolutely LOVE the “WHOA” stop sign photograph! And it looks as though the Richmond, Virginia mounted police department made out like bandits with their three new horses. As anyone who has ever attended a Mounted Police Officers’ Competition knows, these horses are nothing short of incredible! Flapping blue tarps, mock protestors waving signs and gunshots are just a few of the obstacles faced by horse and rider. And, as you noted, there’s just nothing quite so appealing as a mounted police officer, all decked out in their equestrian clothing and shiny horse riding boots.


  4. My younger brother and I recently took our children down to the open-barn event a few weeks ago. I guess you would say we are “legacy” members…Our Grandfather, Glen Brinson, was a member of the Mounted Squad for several decades. We had an awesome time showing our children (4yrs and twin 3yr.olds) the horses and meeting the current and retired officers. They were great for many reasons, especially to reinforce they are your friends. My 4yr old daughter loved Raleigh and we talk about that horse daily still! They really are a special group and their lineage should always be preserved.
    Thanks for the great time!


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