Mounted patrol units are the oldest form of law enforcement mobility in the United States. Modern day police vehicles have largely replaced the need for mounted patrol for purely transportation purposes. However, these units are still useful in a number of scenarios. Events, large crowds, and places that motor vehicles are unable to maneuver are just a few of these scenarios. They can help create a “moving wall” that is useful in barricade or crowd scenarios.
Arguably one of the biggest reasons that departments avoid using mounted patrol units is because it puts a second officer’s life at risk in the line of duty. Mounted units are officers too. It’s important to take the appropriate safety precautions to reduce the risk of injury.
Here are several tips to keep mounted units safe both on and off duty and where to find top-quality safety gear for mounted patrol.
Learn Daily Horse Care
If you are the partner of a mounted unit, it’s important that you learn basic daily horse care. You will need to be able to care for your mounted unit daily, whether or not you will be on patrol. It’s also important to form a relationship with your unit – horses are incredibly intelligent and emotionally aware. This gives them the ability to establish an intimate bond with their rider.
Make Your Unit “Bomb-Proof”
The term “bomb-proof” is a colloquialism for a horse that is trained so well it could hear a bomb go off nearby without flinching. Desensitization training is critical for mounted units and these horses typically undergo extensive “bomb-proofing” to desensitize them to unexpected sights and sounds that would ordinarily spook a horse.
When desensitizing your horse, consider training it to tolerate:
- The sensation of pressure on its legs
- Having to walk or run through narrow spaces
- Unexpected loud sounds
- People touching its hind quarters or other parts of its body
- Objects being thrown or launched into the air
- Yelling and fighting between people
This type of training takes time, especially if the horse is young. Often, these horses will be specifically trained to tolerate the wide variety of environments presented by law enforcement work. Usually, mounted units are trained by a professional horse trainer and then work with their rider and partner for a period of time before formally going out on patrol.
Protect Your Mounted Unit From Injury
Mounted units are at as much risk of injury in the line of duty as human officers, if not more so. Despite their size and strength, mounted units can be immobilized or even taken out in a number of ways. Officers riding mounted units are also vulnerable to attacks to their feet and legs, especially in large crowds. Making sure both you and your unit are protected as much as possible from potential harm while patrolling is critical.
Mounted units utilizing Haven Gear’s Mounted Patrol Suit are protected by high quality and reliable materials. This helps protect against blunt force, puncture or stab wounds, fire, and other potential dangers often faced by law enforcement.
Check Your Tack Before Each Patrol
Before you mount your unit for patrol, you should always check your tack, including any additional safety or riot gear. Make sure you can easily mount and dismount the horse without the tack moving or sliding around. Make sure the gear you’re wearing fits properly and check for any cracks in the leather, broken buckles, and other issues that could compromise your safety and the safety of your horse if not fixed before heading out on patrol.
Get Top-Quality Riot Gear For Mounted Units
Haven Gear is a premier provider of top-quality safety and riot gear for police officers, mounted units, and more. Our Mounted Rider Suit protects officers without sacrificing comfort or durability.
Riders have lightweight chest, back, upper and lower arm and leg protection, and extra calf protection when out on patrol. Integrated hydration and cooling within the suit keeps officers going when summer heat is at its peak. Check out the Mounted Rider Suit and our other high-quality police safety and riot gear options.