Shocked by police horse in training riders.

Ale

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Feb 8, 2012
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I hope you don't all think I am overreacting but I just thought it was a bad example of riding on the roads.

First off they were riding two abreast which is fine, taking up the whole lane. I followed behind them for 8 minutes and it was clear some of the cars had been behind them even longer.

The whole time I was following not once did they look over their shoulder, they made no attempt to let any of the cars pass at any time. The road was too narrow for any of us to pass but loads of side roads they could of pulled into. They also did not thank or acknowledge any of the drivers, not even those on the opposite side of the road who pulled over to let them pass parked cars.

I was then shocked that at the end of the road they stopped the traffic on the main road to allow them to enter the road without waiting meaning even more cars were stuck behind them. I realise perhaps they are taught to control the road and the horses were in training but both looked very relaxed and riders were on a long rein and chatting to each other. I was annoyed so I can only imagine that the car drivers felt the same.
 

Skib

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Dec 21, 2003
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They are traineď to do that. Always 2 abreast where we live with the traffic crawling behind. They do stop major road traffic to take priority too but that seems to go for other horses in Central London. If you ride in Hyde Park you see the traffic yield as you exit the Park. I have had a London bus wait.
I have no love for police horses as almost miscarried in 1967 being crushed by one when horses were kettling spectators after a football match. The rider refused my pleas. I have rarely seen a police rider communicate with people either drivers or on foot.
Nor have I heard anyone brave enough to complain till your post Ale.
 

Mary Poppins

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Or you could see it from the viewpoint that horses have the same rights to use the roads as cars and that sometimes cars just have to wait! Police horses have to get used to having lots of traffic behind them and all around them, plus deal with the impatient drivers that this produces. It's not like these horses were on a leisure hack, they were working and that means they have to get on with their job like they would in a real operational situation.

I love to see police horses out and about. I think that they do a fantastic job and need to 'own the road' and command respect at all times. I understand that everyone is in a hurry but everyone should just slow down and watch them!
 
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horseandgoatmom

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Boston got rid of their police horses:(:mad:. It really annoyed me.:mad::mad: They were one of the first in the country and they could not keep it going.:mad::mad::mad:The state police have some and I have seen a video of them at the Patriots football game but never in person.
I think a lot of Boston's horses went down to Plymouth my farrier shoes them.
 

Ale

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Feb 8, 2012
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Or you could see it from the viewpoint that horses have the same rights to use the roads as cars and that sometimes cars just have to wait! Police horses have to get used to having lots of traffic behind them and all around them, plus deal with the impatient drivers that this produces. It's not like these horses were on a leisure hack, they were working and that means they have to get on with their job like they would in a real operational situation.

I love to see police horses out and about. I think that they do a fantastic job and need to 'own the road' and command respect at all times. I understand that everyone is in a hurry but everyone should just slow down and watch them!

Okay yes a different way of looking at it.

But I still don't think that it is right to not thank oncoming car drivers who have pulled out the way to let them pass. And I don't really agree with them stopping the traffic on the main road to give themselves right of way, side roads are supposed to give way to main roads. I'm all for slowing down and watching them but I just thought their riding left alot to be desired with no interaction at all with any of the drivers except to push their way out into traffic.
 

Mary Poppins

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Okay yes a different way of looking at it.

But I still don't think that it is right to not thank oncoming car drivers who have pulled out the way to let them pass. And I don't really agree with them stopping the traffic on the main road to give themselves right of way, side roads are supposed to give way to main roads. I'm all for slowing down and watching them but I just thought their riding left alot to be desired with no interaction at all with any of the drivers except to push their way out into traffic.

But stopping the traffic is what the police do, and the horses have to learn to respond to their rider and step out onto busy roads on command. Also drivers have to learn that when the police say 'stop' to the traffic, they have to stop, regardless if they are on a horse or on foot, it's an education for everyone. If the horse was in training, perhaps the rider was as well so they were practising their skills.
 

Jessey

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Dec 20, 2004
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Horses do have the same rights as cars (more in some situations), the fact is we don't need to thank people for being patient, but as civilians we have to appeal to peoples good nature to be patient with us, the police are in a position to enforce it. However if you are driving a slow vehicle on the road, like a tractor, the highway code suggests (I think rather than instructs) that you should pull over to let faster traffic pass when there are 5 or more vehicles behind you (don't quote me on that, its a very old vague memory ;P), so on the basis they have the same rights as cars it would have been correct for them to pull over when possible.

I think I would write to the local crime commissioner, not in a 'how rude' way but more trying to explain how hard leisure riders work to be polite and courteous on the roads to appeal to drivers to be respectful of us and that the policemen/horses in this situation don't really help the cause (obviously if they were en route to an incident and time was a concern you wouldn't expect them to pull over but long reins and chatting didn't really give that impression), perhaps write to the BHS too as they may be able to engage with the police on a high level and if nothing else get some answers :)
 

Ale

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But stopping the traffic is what the police do, and the horses have to learn to respond to their rider and step out onto busy roads on command. Also drivers have to learn that when the police say 'stop' to the traffic, they have to stop, regardless if they are on a horse or on foot, it's an education for everyone. If the horse was in training, perhaps the rider was as well so they were practising their skills.

I'm afraid I still found their riding manner very rude. They were not uniformed officers either so for all I know where just grooms.

I just think in the least they should be thanking drivers who obey their signals.
 

Mary Poppins

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I'm afraid I still found their riding manner very rude. They were not uniformed officers either so for all I know where just grooms.

I just think in the least they should be thanking drivers who obey their signals.

If they were not in uniform, how do you know they were police horses?
 

horseandgoatmom

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Technically its still on "the books" here that if you come upon a horse that is having problems you have to STOP
and let the horse pass you.

I always thank courteous people in cars when I'm riding.
I think it's good to let them know there courtesy is VERY MUCH APPRECIATED;).
 

newforest

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Mar 15, 2008
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I suppose my viewpoint is I yield to traffic. I am out on a leisurely stroll and those I meet are likely working.

It would not occur to me to expect the police to thank drivers, pull in etc, the drivers should be respectful of the law. Most people slow down if they see a police car, yes?

You wouldnt want to teach a working horse to stop and start with traffic.
They will merge into traffic, if that means stopping it, so be it. Training means being confident to move out into moving traffic.

Also it's worth remembering what horses get used for.
Crowd control, visible presence. The horse needs to cope with football matches and going forwards into noise, into the traffic. Just to add they don't acknowledge people either. The last thing you want is a horse looking for a scratch on duty! Mine would fail ;)
 
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Gimp

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Jan 19, 2005
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If they were leisure riders Id of been cross, but in this instance I think they were doing what is or will be asked of the horses.
 

Lissie

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Because they're rozzers they can do what they want, a bit like the travellers! :p
 
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Wally

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Horses have more right in law to use the highway as they have an absolute right in law to pass and repass on the highway, cars and motor vehicles must seek permission through licence and road fund.
 
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KP nut

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Dec 22, 2008
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I agree that if they are in training they need to mimic the way they will be ridden on duty. Holding up traffic will be a key role and one that is probably quite hairy! They need to practice stepping into fast flowing traffic and stopping it. Also having queuing traffic behind is something they need to get used to - I guess at times they will get hooted, abused. And they always ride 2 abreast and take control of the road. It may have been a narrow road so held people up, but they are working and therefore need to be in charge and not squeezed into a lay-by. On duty a horse should never allow itself to be crowded into the side of the road so perhaps they never give way on training just on principle. The only thing I would question is the lack of courtesy. I think police should always try and engage positively with the public and should smile/nod. If I give way to a police car I do sometimes get a raised hand. Not when the blue lights are flashing obviously, but at other, calmer times.
 
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Ale

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Feb 8, 2012
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I also wonder if any of the drivers approaching from the front actually knew they were police horses?

The hi viz jackets were not emblazoned on the front only the back and from memory they were not wearing anything else that showed they were police, nor were they in any uniform.
 
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