Miss you Sassy! Photo by Justine

Miss you Sassy! Photo by Justine

For months now I have been riding Sassy, a lovely young thoroughbred mare, for a friend who was busy becoming a doctor.

So far I had cherished my time with Sassy. She was the first horse I’d really been able to spend time with after Reggie. She was fun. We had gone to some hunter/jumper shows and could be lazy and just hack around in the field without a fuss. She was a fun ride, that’s for sure.

But her training wasn’t progressing as quickly as her owner would have liked. Though fun to ride, Sassy is still quite green. She has issues with the trailer and could be calm and willing one day, but strong headed and naughty the next. It was time to send her to a trainer – someone who could work with her full time – while her owner continued on in medical school.

I was sad to say goodbye to the mare, but I understood. Her departure meant I was once again horseless and in need of something to ride fairly quickly.

A dressage trainer in the area had suggested I call the sergeant at the mounted patrol unit of the local sheriff’s office. They needed volunteers to help school their horses. I was skeptical of the idea, not knowing much about mounted patrol or how my skills as a dressage and jumper rider could really transfer over into that arena.

I’m so glad I called.

When I arrived at the facility to meet the deputies and the horses I was so pleasantly surprised. The mounted patrol team took dressage riding lessons and every horse in the barn was a beautiful European warmblood breed or well-built thoroughbred. Most had extensive training. Their tack was immaculate – Albion and Prestige saddles and accessories – and the horses were always well turned out.

I was in heaven.

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Sentinel at work and at home with me. Photo by Justine

It was clear they needed someone around to help school the horses whenever possible. I’ve been riding out of their facility for months now and have schooled every horse. Aside from putting most through their paces and some lateral work, I can school over a cross country course, complete with a bank and some water, in the back field and take them through tires, over bridges, push open fences and large barrels and the list goes on.

One of my favorite horses in the barn is Sentinel, a 7-year-old black Hanoverian gelding. He is a dream to ride – powerful strides but light in the mouth and very balanced. Valor, a thoroughbred gelding, is so sweet on the ground and fun horse to ride too.

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Valor looking handsome. Photo by Justine.

It may not have been the next step I had in mind, but the sheriff’s office farm is turning out to be the perfect place for me. I love watching mounted patrol seminars and seeing the horses at work in parades, at the beach, and at the malls around town. Plus I have them all to myself when they’re not on duty. Stay tuned for more updates!

Videos of me riding Sentinel:


Justine