Tag Archives: mounted sheriff patrol

What Do You See When You Glance at a Police Horse? Perhaps More Than You Think.

Me and Traveler on "the boxes." This is an obstacle to develop precision in foot placement when crossing obstacles or climbing stairs. (Photo provided by the author, courtesy of the OCSO)

by Sam Chesnut

The concept of using horses in law enforcement is as old as law enforcement itself.  But the requirements placed on the law enforcement horse, and the methods used in its training, are constantly changing.  The Sheriff, or Marshal, of bygone days did not have the many different venues that a modern police horse has to deal with.  The law enforcement horse of the 1800’s did not have our traffic, crowds, or complexity of civilization.  And with special circumstances comes the need for special training.

What you see as the modern police horse is the result of many hours of this special training.  Recently Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel and the Oklahoma County Mounted Patrol supervisors conducted a five day school dedicated to the implementation and training of the police horse.  The officers attending came from several different law enforcement agencies including the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) with other participants traveling from as far away as Indiana.  Through Sheriff Whetsel’s supervision the school has been a great success and has grown in attendance every year.  The school and its instructors are known nationwide.  On many occasions Deputy Randy Garner, OCSO Mounted Patrol Section Leader and chief instructor, has been requested to teach mounted police tactics to units in other areas of the nation.  The following is a brief glimpse of how the training is conducted:

The first matter of business is an extensive warm-up time that allows both the horses and riders to become accustomed to their surroundings and the training aids they will be using.  Police horse training is similar to that of the police K-9 unit development.  All programming is initiated by letting the horse play with a certain object.  Then the “play” is directed toward “mission oriented” tasks.  For example, the beginning of the Crowd Control training is accomplished by using a large (four foot in diameter) inflated “beach ball.”  The horse is directed to push it and soon he is pushing and kicking it around like a child playing with a ball. Continue reading What Do You See When You Glance at a Police Horse? Perhaps More Than You Think.

Stories from Our Readers: Patience with a “Traveler”

Sam and Traveler at the Sooner Cowboy Church, dedicating their flag pole.

Editor’s Note: What we’ve found as our readership has expanded is that the RDC Community is full of humans with interesting lives.  As our dear Earth turns on her axis, these folks are managing skyscrapers, scraping animal droppings, and dropping mail in everyone’s mailbox on their route.  One of our readers, who gave me permission to share a few photos on a past Silent Sunday post, is a sheriff.  He rides in the mounted patrol and his horse has an interesting story.  While recovering from recent shoulder surgery, he sent “Traveler’s Story” along for my perusal and I asked his permission to share it with you.  Have a story YOU feel needs to be shared?  We’ll read it and work with you if  it fits with our mission. ~ [kelly]

Traveler’s Story, by Sam Chestnut

edited by Kelly Roberts

The date was March of 2005. I was still recovering from a Prostatectomy due to Prostate Cancer.  I heard from a friend that a man not far from us had a good looking Tennessee Walker gelding for sale.  So Jean, our daughter Darla, and I went to check it out.

When we walked into the barn I saw a horse standing against the back wall of a stall with all four feet spread out, his nostrils flared,  with his eyes fearful and widely open.  I thought to myself, “Boy, something has just gone on here.”  It was clear the horse was terrified and near panic.  All of his hair had been shaved off with hair clippers and it was still early March; the weather still very cold.  He was in an unheated barn with no blanket or method of keeping himself warm.  He was somewhat skinny and not well kept.  There were no physical scars other than his shaved mane, but it was clear the horse had been ‘through it.’

Continue reading Stories from Our Readers: Patience with a “Traveler”