Police horses are specially trained to be unflappable in any situation. They have to deal with crowds of people, unusual objects and loud noises, without panicking or spooking. Training a police horse normally takes at least six months.
Not all horses have a suitable temperament to become police horses. Your horse must have a quiet temperament, good manners and a thorough understanding of basic schooling before starting training.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
Things you need
- A well-mannered horse
- Riding helmet
- Horse trailer
- Mounting block
- Long coat
- Several assistants
- Recordings of noises, e.g. brass bands
Start by establishing your horse's basic training. Make sure he will halt on command and remain stationary until asked to walk on. Practice loading him in and out of a trailer.
Tie your horse up, and check that he is happy to stand quietly while you move around him. As with any horse, take care when moving directly behind him.
Position a mounting block in an open space, and lead your horse up to it and around it. Ask him to stand quietly alongside the block. Ask an assistant to hold his head, and mount him from the mounting block. Once he is happy to stand quietly, mount from the other side.
Put on a long coat, ideally one that made of rustly material. Mount your horse again from both sides. Continue to work with him until he is happy to stand completely still.
Start to introduce more advanced work. Hold your horse's head while an assistant plays the recorded soundtrack of noises. Once he is calm in this environment, repeat the exercise while mounted.
Ask several assistants to walk toward you in a line, shouting or clapping their hands. Ask your horse to walk calmly through the line-up. The first time you perform this exercise, make sure your assistants are well spaced out to give plenty of room in case your horse reacts suddenly. Once he is happy with the exercise, the line-up can be closed in a little.
Continue to introduce your horse to as many new situations as possible. Ask him to walk over tarpaulins spread on the ground, or through gaps in hedges. Assess each situation for safety before you ask your horse to tackle it, and don't ask him to do too much too soon.
Tips and warnings
- Increase your horse's training gradually. If he is not happy with an exercise, don't move on to something new until he is ready.
- When introducing a horse to any new situation, take care. Horses are unpredictable animals, and can react in unexpected ways. Always wear a safety helmet, and have an assistant nearby.
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