Thursday, November 25, 2010

NRP horse unit disbanded

below: Mar.12, 2009 - Brock, the Niagara Region's police horse, on patrol. The Niagara Falls Review reported on Nov.25, 2010 in "No horsin' around: NRP mounted unit put out to pasture":

"Niagara Regional Police have put the service's two-horse mounted unit out to pasture.

The decision was made Thursday during a closed-door meeting of the police services board.

The mounted unit, launched formally as a pilot project two years ago, was largely ceremonial.

While the cost of taking care of the horses and operating the unit was relatively low — roughly $40,000 annually — police board member Mal Woodhouse repeatedly pushed for the expense to be axed as a symbolic gesture each year during budget deliberations.

Members of the police services board recently approved a draft budget of $127.5 million for the year ahead, representing an increase of 5.48%."
I often saw one of the NRP's horses, named Brock, while he was taken out on patrol in and around Queen Victoria Park in Niagara Falls. Brock was one solid Percheron horse (just look at his stance in the photo below) who had a good disposition and was very friendly. He was also very fast, as I'd see him being put through his paces, going from stand-still to a running gallop through the park. He also followed instructions well, doing all kinds of nuanced front-back-sideways moves, stepping very deliberately and slowly, in whichever way the officer directed. I saw Brock meticulously follow prompts, for example, to step up onto a large boulder, one leg at a time, and then to step down, following varying commands - told to leave one front leg on the rock, but step down with the other legs, or, to leave both front legs on the ground, with the rear still on the rock, etc. etc... I was allowed to give him part of an apple once (he had made it clear he was very interested in it!) and the next times I saw him, I swear I think he remembered me. There were so many tourists who were instantly drawn to him, and would come over to pet him and to talk with the officer. Kids especially seemed to be in awe of him and loved to have their pictures taken with him. Brock was a real goodwill ambassador for Niagara.
above: Mar.12, 2009 - close-up of the NRP's horse, Brock, wearing his official police badge!
Brock is now apparently going to be sold off by the police service, who had bought him (along with Juno, the other NRP mounted unit's horse) for $10,000 back in 2008. I hope a good home is found for these horses.

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