The New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) features a stable of two dozen horses, primarily warmbloods, and half as many human officers. These horses know how to thrill a crowd, as they’re employed on both street patrols and at high profile events including Mardi Gras and local conventions. Onlookers watching the To Be Continued Brass Band got a real treat as Officer Jones and warmblood Officer Ace showed up to get down along with the band.
If those dance moves look familiar, it’s probably because you’ve spent some time with dressage. The police department trains many of its mounted officers in dressage so they can bust a move with the best dancers in the city. It seems some horses just love to dance.
The NOPD prefers warmbloods, a mixture of draft horses and thoroughbreds or quarter horses, for employment as police horses due to their temperament and intelligence. The department spends months or even years training horses to work with crowds, avoid distractions and respond correctly to the loud sights and sounds of Bourbon Street.
These horses were originally purchased from breeders, but New Orleans has instituted its own breeding program in the past few years. The program was proud to announce the birth of both a filly and a colt last year. The breeding program is paid for via tax-deductible donations from fans of the horses and the NOPD. It’s handled by the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation and anyone can donate via their website.
This isn’t the first time that NOPD mounted officers have appeared in the spotlight for their antics. The dancing and prancing police remain a regular sight in the Big Easy, and Ace has a reputation as one of the best on the force. Of course, dancing is one of the best ways to stay fit at any age, for both people and our four-legged partners.