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“T e Richmond Police Mounted Squad was fi rst organized in 1894 as Outriders to patrol the outskirts of the city. It is the oldest police unit of its kind in the Commonwealth of Virginia and at one time had 50 horses and mounted offi cers. RMS is still a very important and active part of the City of Richmond’s Police Department; its fi ve offi cers and fi ve horses patrol six to seven hours a day, four days a week.”


Offi cer Dawn Lehmann gives a ticket for parking in a no-parking zone.


One such organization, Friends of the Richmond Mounted Squad


(FRMS), was formed in 1991 to provide support to one of the oldest mounted patrols in the country, the City of Richmond Mounted Squad. T e Richmond Police Mounted Squad (RMS) was fi rst organized


in 1894 as “Outriders” to patrol the outskirts of the city. It is the oldest police unit of its kind in the Commonwealth of Virginia and at one time had 50 horses and mounted offi cers. RMS is still a very important and active part of the City of Richmond’s Police Department; its fi ve offi cers and fi ve horses patrol six to seven hours a day, four days a week. Like other mounted police units, the horses and offi cers of RMS


provide crowd control, work regular traffi c and even run radar. T eir regular patrols provide a noticeable and friendly police presence. Whether patrolling the streets in high-risk areas or shopping centers


or safeguarding spectators at sporting events and festivals, Mounted Patrol offi cers take their commitment to protect and to serve very seriously. T ey know that together with their horses they portray a sense of security. Mounted police offi cers are oſt en able to gather useful information because people will approach a rider more readily than they will offi cers in a patrol car. In all of Virginia there are only two other remaining Mounted Police Units, the City of Roanoke and Virginia Beach. RMS is also a very important part of the City’s outreach programs. T e


offi cers and horses at end career days at elementary schools, visit com- munity centers, participate in parades and compete in and put on shows. T ey are truly ambassadors of the City of Richmond’s Police Department. T e City of Richmond does provide funding for offi cers’ salaries


and the feeding and housing of the horses, but that leaves many nec- essary expenses still uncovered. Just in the past few years the FRMS have paid veterinary expenses, and purchased a horse trailer and even two horses. T ey have also bought tack and equipment, and paid for special training. Some of the offi cers and horses participate in national competitions and FRMS provides the funds to make that possible. Many FRMS fundraising events have the added benefi t of raising


awareness of the value of mounted patrols as the offi cers participate and join in the fun. In the spring they host T e Richmond Ride. Billed as Virginia’s most unique trail ride, the annual event draws over 100 participants to ride the streets of Richmond with the mounted offi cers, just as horsemen did in previous centuries. T is year’s ride will be the 20th


Richmond Ride.


Annually, FRMS holds the Richmond Mounted Horse Squad Fun and Pleasure Show. It is a versatility/obstacle type of show where the


offi cers dream up the obstacles. And it’s always a sold out event as the public really wants to see what new and exciting obstacle challenges the creative offi cers come up with each year. Other mounted patrols oſt en come to test theirs and their horses’ skills with the fun and challenging obstacles. Each year during the State Fair of Virginia, FRMS sets up a


booth for their used tack sale they call the “Equine Yard Sale.” While not a huge fundraiser, it does off er another chance for FRMS to reach out to the public and raise awareness of the value of mounted offi cers. A favorite outreach event is “Open Barn.” Each June the stable is


opened for the public to come meet the offi cers and horses. Com- plete with lemonade and cookies and treats for the horses, this is a standing room only gathering where wide smiles are shared in packed barn aisles. In December FRMS holds a Blessing of the Animals. T e public is invited to bring their service animals and pets to be blessed. T e mounted offi cers and horses are there as well as Rich- mond’s K9 offi cers and their dogs for this very popular and treasured occasion. One year a little girl walked half a mi le car ry- ing her goldfi sh in its bowl to be blessed. To learn more about


Friends of the Rich- mond Mounted Squad go to www.frmsva.com. If you know of a Mounted Patrol in your area, reach out to off er your support. T ey would greatly appreci- ate any help you could off er to help them help others in the community.


Dutch Henry is a novelist and freelance writer who writes about “People & Horses Helping Horses & People.” He resides in Virginia with his wife of 35 years, Robin, along with his horse and dogs, cats and chickens. You can reach


Dutch at dutchhenry@hughes.net. He would love to hear from you. His novel “We’ll Have the Summer” is available on Amazon and Dutch’s website www.dutchhenryauthor.com


WWW.TRAILBLAZERMAGAZINE.US • March 2012 | 75


Offi cer Monica Watson had just fi nished directing traffi c at the stop sign.


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