Most people associate horses with the countryside, a place where there is room to romp.
Recently the only Canadians invited to take part in the American Presidential Inaugural Parade were two mounted police horses, Honest Ed and Tecumseh with their riders, Sergeant Jim Patterson and Unit Commander William Wardle.
Some people have questioned the value of police horses, but there are some unique features that make them very useful. Their size and disposition make them a good economical tool for crowd management. A policeman on foot or from a car is not able to see very far into a crowd. With their size horses force people to move. They have been very effective at sporting and entertainment events.
Some examples of what they can do include watching drivers from above who are illegally using their cell phones. They have also been useful in warning cyclists to not go past flashing lights of street cars.
The job is not without danger. Police horses have become involved in riots and have been struck down by stolen vehicles.
People, especially children respect horses and often ask about them. This builds up good relations for the police.
Some people are concerned over horse manure left on the streets. Studies have shown that because they are vegetarian their manure is excellent for fertilizer and has been used in municipal flower beds.
In rural areas police have used horses to chase the bad guys running over rough terrain.
Police horses are more than just a tool. Many horses are bought by their riders when they retire. There is also mourning for police horses that have lost their lives in the line of duty.
The photo is from one of the art crawls in Hamilton, Ontario where as you can see the horses attract children and you can also appreciate that the riders have a higher view of what is going on.