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Officers Take the Reigns for Mounted Unit Training

by Dawne Massey

October 10, 2016

Categories: On the Beat

Topics: Police Training

Officers Take the Reigns for Mounted Unit Training

It’s the second week of training for officers preparing to become certified in the Mounted Unit and they’re starting to get the hang of things. The officers are beginning to forge bonds with their equine partners and develop the skills necessary to maneuver the horses. Today’s challenge is the Western Course, which entails riding the horse in a pattern around some orange cones. It’s similar to the driving and motorcycle training NOPD officers go through – except this vehicle has four legs and a powerful set of teeth.

During this segment of the course, riders are learning to control the horses through the course at different speeds, including walking, trotting and canter. The three-week-long training session, designed to certify officers in this specialized unit, features a total of 14 officers including some who have never ridden a horse before.

Skills learned during the training session come in handy during major events like Mardi Gras, festivals and during busy nights in the French Quarter.

"We do a lot of crowd control and public relations during Mardi Gras,” said David J. Waguespack of the NOPD Mounted Unit. “One officer on horseback can do the job of 8-10 guys on the ground, as far as crowds are concerned. The crowd moves more for a horse than they do even for cars and police officers on foot."