PIKE CREEK, Del. -- The New Castle County Police Mounted Patrol has welcomed three new Clydesdales that will provide a youthful boost to this valuable part of the police department.
“Royal” is three years old and stands 17.1 hands high and is still growing. (One hand equals four inches: 68.4 inches). “Red” is five years old and stands 18.1 hands high. He is as tall as he will get, but will fill out considerably. “Buddy,” the largest of the three, is also five years old and is 18.2 hands tall and is. He will fill out considerably as well.
New Castle County Police Chief Elmer Setting said periodically replenishing the mounted patrol with young horses was as important as regularly replacing police cruisers in the county fleet.
Setting was a member of the mounted patrol in the early 1990s, when thoroughbred horses were used. County Executive Tom Gordon, who was the police chief at the time, asked if there were a more fitting breed of horse for police work given the thoroughbreds’ skittish nature. That was how New Castle County Police decided Clydesdales were the best breed, Setting said.
“They’re bigger but calmer, especially around people, and they love the attention,” Setting said. “They’re beloved horses in new Castle County. You’d be shocked at how many people walk up and know the names of each of the horses.”
Setting said the public was welcome to view the horses training at New Castle County’s scenic Carousel Park in Pike Creek anytime between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The three “Light Bay Clydesdale Geldings” were bought from Carson Farm located in Listowel Canada, which is about 4 hours north of Niagara Falls.
Tuesday was their first day under saddle at Carousel Park. New Castle County Police Senior Sergeant Mary Devine, Commander of the Mounted Patrol Unit said all of the mounts were doing remarkably well.
“We are extremely optimistic and excited about their progress,” she said.
During the upcoming months, in addition to their daily patrol duties, the Mounted Patrol Officers will be spending time training the Clydesdales to ensure that they are ready to function as police horses. The timeline for their training all depends on how quickly they adapt to their new lifestyle.
With the addition of Royal, Red and Buddy, the Mounted Patrol has 10 police mounts assigned to the unit. They include; Mick (8 years old), Sisco (12 years old), Jag (13 years old), Darby (15 years old), Tonka (15 years old), Elvis (15 years old) and Commander (16 years old).