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Omaha 'Horse Force' Gets Tough Training-Mounted Police Horses Undergo Extensive Screening

 
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03/09/2009 10:43 AM
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Omaha 'Horse Force' Gets Tough Training-Mounted Police Horses Undergo Extensive Screening
[link to www.ketv.com]

OMAHA, Neb. -- Horses have to undergo up to two years of training before they can be part of Omaha's Mounted Patrol, a unit which has been serving the area for more than 20 years.

Sgt. Steve Cerveny/OPD Mounted Patrol



"We don't put anything out on the street that's not safe," said Sgt. Steve Cerveny. "No horse will go out on patrol unless they're safely trained in this arena."

The training begins in the obstacle arena, where horses have to acclimate to a new environment. Cerveny said that can take a lot of time.

"Anywhere from a week to a month, we let them become accustomed to their new surroundings and then we'll pull them out of the stall to see where they're at and what kind of program we need to develop for their training," Cerveny said.

The horses will also have to learn to work with various obstacles, including being trained to push a large ball. Cerveny said it's not a natural job for a horse.

"This helps aid us with crowd control techniques if we ever have to deploy these horses in that type of situation," he said.


The animals also have to learn to walk on a mattress, simulating uneven terrain.

At the end of the long training period, Cerveny said, usually only one out of 10 horses is deemed suitable for police work.

The Mounted Patrol currently has 14 horses in its stables and only six are on active duty. The others are going through testing to see if they'll make the cut.
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