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Horse police

Well, I really wish I had a video camera.
This afternoon around 6 shortly after the PPRC rally to Portland police on horseback came into the SW corner of Pioneer square. They decided to ride thier horses down the wheelchair ramp that goes across the large staircase (usually used for sitting on as an ampitheatre) One of the horses got all skittish, the horses steel shoes slipping a little on the bricks and the horse started shaking and trying to back up.

Left me with several questions- was this a new police horse they were training?
Can a steel shoed horse safely decend a gentle slope on brick surface?
Why dont they some kind of rubber shoe bottoms? The Police cars, motorcycles, bicycles and ATV's all seem to have rubber tires The cops themselves seem to have non-slip footwear.

Is this mean to the horse to make it do something that scares it?

Did this action unnessecarily endanger the police officer this afternoon? What about the people below the horse on the stairs and ramp? (Everybody seemed to have the good sense to get out of the way.)

Are our tax dollars being wasted paying for horse expenses for the police? How much does a mounted officer cost the public as opposed to a bicycle, motorcycle, or officer on foot? Are horses outdated since the invention of pepper spray for crowd control? Traditonally I think cops dispersed crowds by riding horses into them and turning the horse around in tight circles- is this still an option in the age of videocameras and lawsuits?

I once heared that ten motorcycle cops write half the traffic tickets in Portland. Getting people to slow down and pay attention in thier 4000 pound cars saves many times more lives than any crime fighting stuff. How much are those new BMW RS1100's?

Any cops out there that can answer? or do we have to advertise the website on Rush Limbaugh or Lars Larson shows to get you guys back on line?

Misuse of a horse 05.Jun.2004 00:01

ha ha sucks

In the chart of "most common allegations" (p. 40) we see: 66 force with hands, feet, knees; 12 force with batons; 12 pepper spray (what category is this, if not force?); 4 bean bags; 4 tasers; 3 rubber bullets; 3 vehicle, 2 flashlights, AND ONE HORSE(!).


See Kristian Williams' (of our own Rose City Copwatch) book "Our Enimies in Blue". It comes out in September. The cover will surprise you if you like horses, and police riden by them, and people dragged by them.


That sounds dangerous 05.Jun.2004 01:53


But I take it they made it down okay? It is scary if a horse falls. That's a lot of weight on slender legs. I'm not cop and no expert, but I think horses are still very useful for crowd control in certain cases. They move people and rarely hurt them. They are good for PR too when not involved in crowd control. I think they are so beautiful, I wouldn't want to see them phased out. Just my opinion.

A horse is as smart as the cop riding it 05.Jun.2004 02:28


"But I take it they made it down okay?" I don't know what that means (sorry). What do you mean "good for PR"? You mean good for the media?

"They are good for PR too when not involved in crowd control. I think they are so beautiful, I wouldn't want to see them phased out. Just my opinion."

How bout' Craig that was dragged by an officer on a police horse. Horses are beautiful, but they don't deverve to be manipulated by the police. They belong on a farm. They deserve to be riden and loved, not used as a tool for crowd control.

If the police want to fuck up prosesters under a situtation that would require a horse, they're stupid. They could easily do it on foot with thier batons, tear gas, and their pepper spray. They can, they have, and they will do it in the future. No horse reqired.

Pretty simple Duh 05.Jun.2004 02:55


Red Suspenders described a situation that sounded really scary for the horse. But it sounded like the horses made it down the ramp without injury. I didn't really need to ask that question, but maybe I wanted some reassurance about the situation. Maybe I wanted more details.

The cops don't NEED horses. You're right. They could just use pepper spray, or guns, or batons, or better yet, good planning and good relations with the public. There are always multiple ways of doing things. Duh.

Horses belong on the farm? They deserve to be ridden and loved? BELONG on the farm??? How about belong on the open plains? DESERVE to be ridden? What did they do to deserve that?

First, you assume they are not loved. That's a big assumption. You don't know that they aren't. Second, you are pretty fucking judgemental for someone who thinks horses BELONG on the farm and DESERVE to be ridden.

And I don't give a shit about Craig. That has nothing to do with the horse. It is between him and the cops.

Oh and you didn't get the PR part. Let me explain. When the horses aren't involved in crowd control, and they are just patroling around town, they make kids smile, they make adults smile. People stop and talk to the cops. Police have conversations with people when arrests and conflict are not a part of the equation. Good PR. Good for communication and relations between citizens and cops. Or would you rather have communication between cops and citizens always be a conflict?

Horses on the police force are a great thing. They look pretty damned well taken care of too. If you think no one loves them then you haven't a clue.

Duh 05.Jun.2004 03:00


I was a little too fired up there. I think I may have misunderstood your intentions. Sorry for the strong language. Wish I could take it back.

And I wish for an apology by the city/police 05.Jun.2004 03:15

CRC 2003-X-0009

But that's not going happen, is it?

Horses are cool critters, but not good in a crowd 05.Jun.2004 06:39

love horses, not cops

Any steep slope is hard for a horse to go down smoothly, but the ramp described here definitely doesn't sound safe for horse or rider.

The use of horses for crowd control is bad for many reasons, but at least one of them is the danger of a horse rearing, kicking, or stomping on someone. Even a well-trained horse can react badly to a surprise stimulus. Snakes, for example, or firecrackers, or a dog, Something intentional on the part of the crowd being controlled, or something accidental in the environment, could cause a horse to rear and risk injury to the rider or someone else. An out of control horse can kill people, and it's only luck, and the thankfully limited use popo make of them in crowd control that has prevented a tragedy so far.

Horses are pretty to see in the city, and their poop makes a nice organic addition to the streets. But they are certainly a bad choice for crowd control. But then, the whole idea of crowd control is wrong, anyway, as is the bulk of what police actually do. Horses certainly aren't a big probem in comparison with, say, guns and police. Now there's a truly dangerous combo.

Clydesdales 05.Jun.2004 07:48


The whole while, I noticed a Budweiser truck in Pioneer Square, with Clydesdale horses engraved on side. I was told the huge horses were inside that trailor tent on it. How awful! Do you know how warm and humid it was for us? Then think, here were those horses, confined in space, enclosed, and contained inside! Inhumane! That is soo cruel!

Bad Horse,No Oats 05.Jun.2004 08:20

Mr. Ed

Unfortunately, cops use horses as weapons against people in order to "control" and intimidate them. The horses are used to do the biding for cops. I have witnessed both humans and horses being injuried/frightened when used in a manner for which they are not intended. I have also seen the horses becoming very spooked and stressed during peaceful protests when the riders become aggressive. A spooked horse is a danger to itself and anyone around. Animals are not intended to be used as weapons. This is just another form of exploiting an otherwise beautiful and gentle creature. If indeed it is the PR factor the cops are going after when not using the horses in a menacing way how about if they simply tried showing some respect towards their fellow human beings.

hmmm 05.Jun.2004 11:08


and horses leave shit all over the city. thanks a lot cops.

also 05.Jun.2004 11:44

street musician

I've got this theory that they have somehow trained their horses to poop on command.
Cause I was busking with 2 friends in michigan one time and 2 horse cops rode about 5 feet in front of us. They had no legal recourse to make us move or anything, but they managed, with 2 horses, to leave a trail of horseshit 10 feet long [as long as us and our stuff] completely parallel to us. It started and ended where we did.
We had to move.

well... 05.Jun.2004 12:12


read up on medieval battles... strategy vs. heavy cavalry charges. fascinating stuff.

hey wait a minute... 05.Jun.2004 12:31


I always thought the dick was UNDERNEATH the horse...?
I always thought the dick was UNDERNEATH the horse...?

Anheuser-Busch Horses Are Comfortable & Coddled 05.Jun.2004 14:39

North Portlander

Don't worry about the Budweiser Clydesdales. These horses travel in a style that most people would envy. Their trailers are air conditioned and they are treated with the greatest of care. Heavy horses represent a substantial investment and it's always better to prevent and head off potential health problems with horses than try to deal with them once they've emerged.


"There are two complete eight-horse hitches, one for the East and one of the West; and each travels between 25,000 and 30,000 miles a year, at Anheuser-Busch expense, to perform in rodeos, horse shows, expositions, fairs, and parades such as the Tournament of Roses. Each hitch travels in a caravan of three forty-by-eight vans, two for the horses and one of the wagon, portable stalls, harnesses, tack equipment, medicine, and other necessities. The vans are temperature controlled. A team of six men rides with each caravan: a driver, assistant driver, and four stablemen. The caravan always stops every few hundred miles so each horse can stretch his legs or have a little snack, such as a five-pound bag of carrots. At night when the caravan rests, one of the men stays with the horses to insure their comfort and safety."

Since this book was written in 1977, women probably also travel with the big horses, and there are probably even more comfort innovations.

Re. the police horse: Even if the horse ridden by the officer was a seasoned trail horse and used to all sorts of distractions and terrain, riding it down a brick slope not only puts the horse and rider in danger of falling, the impact of hundreds of pounds of horseflesh coming down on shod hooves can damage the brick surface of the square.

Use your marbles 05.Jun.2004 15:19

stuff the filth

As someone mentioned police horses are just there to intimidate. Doesn't matter what country you come from they are all the same.
In the country I come from a useful tactic against police horses was marbles. Yes, an old timer told me about this twenty five years ago. What they did in the 1920's was to throw a handful of marbles under the horses. The horses cant walk over them and charge into the crowd to club people.
Well, at least horse shit is good for the garden. The shit you get from the cops is good for nothing.

I see 15 comments 05.Jun.2004 16:25

red suspenders

How come nobody can answer why they cant come up with more appropriate horse shoes for hard, slipery surfaces often found in cities?

animal exploitation 05.Jun.2004 17:16

always sad

Obviously, using marbles is dangerous and unfair to the horses.

I hate to see police use animals of any kind. The animals have no opportunity to consent. Any time a horse is in town, he is at risk of being hit by a car or startled. Police use horses to intimidate, and seeing the horses' expressions leads me to believe that the training necessary is unnatural, and in my mind abusive.

I feel the same way about police dogs. A dog's natural instinct is to seek love and joy.

We must also ask serious questions about what happens when these animals become too old to work. Mixing animals and capitalism is always bad for the animals. I don't know about here and now, but in my hometown quite a while ago, the paper had a picture of a beautiful cocker spaniel drug sniffing dog who was being retired to the animal sheler. Kiss, kiss, goodbye. And I understand that a "working" animal's "useful" lifespan is very short.

Dont mind the horses 05.Jun.2004 17:20


Personally, I dont mind the cops being on horses downtown. I do feel that it is a positive action, unless it is used by an unethical cop to be negative. And I have been at protests that used horse cops. I personally found a lot of the cops on horses were much more considerate than some of the cops on foot. In fact I was compelled to congratulate one officer on his pleasant attitude while riding the mounted steed.
It adds a sense of outdoorsyness to downtown Portland, that goes with our wilderness image. And most officers are cool about letting kids pet the horses. There are some kids in Portland that never get chances to see horses except in books and film. Sometimes we are all so busy seeing life from our own perspective that we dont see the whole picture. It might also make the officer feel more compassionate and friendly toward the public, because they are approaced as people and not robots when the public is interested in the horses they are riding.

Pooper Scoopers 05.Jun.2004 19:46

North Portlander

I wanted to add that when the horses defecate on the street or sidewalk, the officers clean it up. I saw it happen at the NW Hoyt St. Central Post Office. Two mounted officers were talking with customers in the parking lot when one horse let loose. They immediately dismounted, scooped the stuff up and disposed of it. That's a better response than you see from most dog walkers.

Police and animals 05.Jun.2004 21:22

don't belong together


Yo, red suspenders 05.Jun.2004 21:52


Yes, there are rubber horse-shoes.

I have seen rubber 'overshoes', too, which can be fastened over the steel shoe and hoof. However, I doubt they fasten securely enough for street use. I saw them used by a fanatical horse-lover in a (shudder!) concrete show area.

Horses don't like to step on or push people. Like dogs, they must be horribly abused to be 'trained' to attack people. (yeah, yeah, they will defend themselves when attacked and trapped.)

Cops and Horses 09.Jul.2004 12:20

Horse Cop

Can't change your closed minds about Cops or Horses, but after reading the comments I had to share em with some of my liberal buddies who were shocked at most of the comments.
3/4 of horse patrols were put together with the intention of liberal politicans to make officers more open and responsive to citizens (community policing that touchy feely suck up pulic type thing).
PETA would be highly upset at the thought of you using marbles against horses, but they can be taught to avoid them since, most horses are smarter than the average protester (anarchist, ELF, ALF)
Police Horses are better taken care of than any animal on the face of this planet. Cry baby liberals, PETA, Animal society, people who have ridden horses for 40 yrs, do every possible check to make sure of it, including sticking their heads up the poor horses ass to look inside.
Rubber shoes, on horses don't always protect the horses. Rubber slips on wet pavment from all the eco-hippies oil leaking VW vans. So like the tires on your car slipping on ice or wet pavement (but officer my car slid on the wet pavement) so would a horse slip with wet rubber soles.
Also ferriers checking the horse keeps the hoofs looked after and able to see problems.
Horses as yard art on farms (ohhh isn't that pretty) Horses die horrible deaths when used as yard art.
3/4 of all horses owned are yard art then dog food. Horses are so plentiful that you can get one for 500 bucks or less.
What are you dummies thinking when you say that you would rather have cops in car, motorcycle or bikes.
Horses use no fuel and are realitively cheap to take care of. No pollution no animal fat in their shit
and they look so cute.(can I pet your pony???) and gives the lower income kids a chance to see a real animal beside looking into a mouth full of white teeth of a german shepard or daddies pit bull.
Police horses are trained every day. What the red suspender dude saw was probably a horse who was being trained. Still I doubt red suspender saw what he thought he saw. If the horse was so scared of the walkway, the rider would have been off. If a 1200 pound beast wants you off his back, you are gone.
That's why rodeo riders call it 8 seconds.
Oh and by the way, to the guy knowing the old man who used marbles to stop police on horse back,
The Klan used that tactic back in the 20's when over 2 million people marched in the Klan rallies in Washington, Chicago, Philidelphia and San Francisco. So apperently you must be a Klan member, they teach that on their skinhead websites. Check it out.
Horses can be taught to shit on command.
1 percent of all the horse units see crowd control, only where white children on drugs in cities like Seattle Washington DC Portland Or or NYC. Ohio had to use them on minorities one time last year during a short riot. LA didn't use them in their riots. Only when goofy 1100 Pol Sci anarchists in red and black get together to get the blood pumping and meet hairy chicks do horses have to be brought out. My horse hates red and black clothing, but we don't have any of you guys down south (opps I said it down south, I see the labels flying now!)
Anyway gather round and discuss, I probably won't find this site again and I hate to miss your comments.

Love and Peace out

Officer Mitch Fraiser

police horses 30.Nov.2005 06:41

kelly o'brien kelziex3x@hotmail.com

police horses are very well respected by peolple of all ages they are very well lookeed after and trained to the highest of stardards if a horse is not seen suitable than he will not be allowed to progess his training any further. Training The Horses The meticulous and intensive selection and training process for the mounted officers is equalled by that undergone by their horses. The training at Imber Court is individualized for each horse, and usually lasts six months. The training is separated into three stages Red, Amber and Green. In the Red stage the basics are established and the horse is asked to Stand Still, be Calm and polite, have generally good stable manners, be loaded onto and off boxes several times and generally establish if the horse is suitable to move onto the next stage of training. The Amber stage takes the development a little further introducing the horse to new environments including the local village centers around Imber Court, the local woodlands and open spaces, be able to go through water and to stand and move correctly, be mounted from the ground accepting a riding mac and quarter sheet. At least two months prior to issue the horse will be issued a full uniform kit and be ridden in both saddle and headkit it will also be introduced to a stall. Most importantly the horse will be asked to stand calmly in normal conditions allowing the officer to deal with public enquiries or incidents. The Green stage is the final stage before the horse is issued to an officer out on duty. The horse is asked to patrol up to two hours daily, has been escorted to Kingston on more than one occasion, be able to stand and move forward accordingly in congested traffic from all directions. The horse will also have been to the Public Order training center at Gravesend and will have been ridden in the dark. The horse at this stage is also introduced to mini disc recordings of Military bands, crowds and trains all in a controlled environment within one of the indoor schools at Imber Court. Also in the Green stage the horse is taken out into the open to continue its work with specially developed exercises teaching, for example, the lateral movement into crowds, which is the safest and most effective method of crowd control for both the horse and the public. At all times, the greatest care is taken to maintain a system of training based on encouragement and reward. This produces a well-balanced, obedient animal that is accustomed to all the conditions in which it will have to work.