Last Saturday, I got put inside the rollin’ white horse box and taken to a place I didn’t know existed before – kind of a trainin’ place for “police horses” for that day only, and some kinda real nice place where people can go when they got to do some therapy that only us horses can help them with on all the other days. I got to tell you, it was an interestin’ day! I’d heard about human police officers in the past when it comes to roundin’ up people when they get too rowdy and such, but I never knew horses could be police.
You know how I told you that the way things work in life is horses have to listen to people, and cows have to listen to horses? Well, people have to listen to horses when those horses are police officers. How cool is that?
When I was a colt at my dam’s side, I used to tell her that when I grew up, I was gonna tell all the people what to do, all the time. She’d nip at me and tell me to stop such talk, otherwise the cowboys would put a barbed-wire bit in my mouth one day and learn me otherwise the hard way. I did, indeed, have to learn my early life lessons the hard way, but I wish my dam could see me now! With horses that’s police!
These police horses are actually considered to be officers of the law themselves, as part of what’s called the “Scottsdale Police Mounted Unit,” and they get to wear shiny badges on their saddles. Now that there is a job I can respect, and something I never expected to learn about here on the county island. That has got to be a lot more work than workin’ cattle ever was, because, like everybody knows, people in general are a lot more stubborn and a lot less trainable and respectful than cows.
We didn’t get to work people on Saturday, though, which was disappointin’, but maybe that’s for next time.
We had 15 of us horses, split into different groups, all doin’ different stuff all afternoon. Most of it was pretty easy to do, but it was fun. I walked across all manner of things, includin’ what’s called a “teeter-totter” bridge, and “stairs” and a “black tarp on the ground,” which looked to be a black hole in the ground, so I made sure to stomp on it well and good with my front hooves, to double-check it, before I put all my weight on it.
They made us a “construction site” to ride through, too, and played us noises that sounded like all the things I hear around my home here on the island: big trucks and sirens, a helicopter and all manner of yappin’. They had a “bicycle” to show us, and a “baby stroller” with a real ugly baby in it (one of the other horses overheard that it was a “stuffed animal,” but that’s ridiculous; animals ain’t stuffed) and also some shiny silver “Mylar balloons.”
Next, the part that kinda made me nervous, but I’m old and wise enough not to let on too much that anything can make me real nervous, was when they were practicin’ pattin’ us and then lightly hittin’ us all around our bodies with stuff like “pool noodles” and “innertubes,” to show us what the police horses gotta put up with when they’re out workin’ people and the people are pushin’ and shovin’ on ‘em worse than the pushiest of cattle. I’m not wild about strangers touchin’ me about my head, but they was real understandin’ of me and I worked hard to stand still for them, so it was all good.
Finally, they put us through the “car wash,” which was kinda like havin’ to ride through some really thick branches and brush on the range, if the branches was made of “yellow caution tape.” You just learn to duck a little bit, to let the branches or the “caution tape” hit your rider, not you.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to talk to the police horses themselves much, ‘cause they’ve got the same ethic that I was raised with, where you keep your nose down, do your job, stand tied where they tell you to stand and don’t chit-chat. I didn’t catch their names, so I’ll call them Officer Palomino and Officer Grey. (I got see if any of my buddies found out their names, and if I do, I’ll post it, ‘cause I want to give these boys credit where credit is due.) They were two sturdy and fine-lookin’ Quarter Horse crosses.
I did ask them afterwards if maybe I could be a police horse now, too, you know, as kind of a part-time retirement gig, just for somethin’ more entertainin’ to do than wranglin’ the Ayrab brothers Original Coors and Coors Light all the time.
Officer Palomino looked down at me seriously from under his golden forelock and said, “I’m sorry, sir, but you must be at least 16 hands tall to apply for this job, and younger too – no offense.”
“None taken, son,” I said. “But for your education, I’m as big as I need to be, and when you was still frolickin’ in the field at your dam’s side, I’d already been workin’ thankless 12-hour days for at least a decade, runnin’ after stray cattle from sunup to sundown, uphill, both ways.”
Officer Grey’s wise eyes widened a bit at that. “Oh, I don’t like cows,” Officer Grey said. “I don’t mind crowds of hundreds of people, or smoke and sirens, or fireworks and flares, or the human children who try to run up underneath me to pet my soft belly, or even when the ‘protestors’ throw rocks and soda cans at me, but cows…” he kinda trailed off before continuing. “I deal with everything calmly because I respect the oath I’ve taken, and I respect the human officer who’s in my care, but I’d rather not be around cows if I can help it.”
I guess we all got our limits. I can respect that, and I sure do respect Officers Palomino and Grey, and all the other police horses on the island and anywhere else.