Police Horse Tack

Two Police horses out on patrol

I love making police horse tack because there's no standard issue across the United States. If your horse is portraying a specific city's mounted unit, then you need to research the proper combination of tack.

Some mounted police forces have their officers ride English, including Saint Paul, Minnesota and New York City. Officers in Fort Worth, Texas, and Los Angeles ride Western.

Saddles could include All-purpose English saddles, Australian saddles, Western saddles, and custom made English Mounted Police saddles.

The advantage to English equipment is that it is harder for someone on foot to hold on to the saddle (Western saddles have horns and large skirts). If a civilian grabs the saddle or the officer, the officer yells " Let go of my horse!". The horse canters in a circle forcing the civilian to let go or get dragged. Most people would be startled enough to let go of the horse before they got too badly injured.

A police horse wearing a visor and nose guard

The horses wear riot gear during large events. A clear plastic visor protects their eyes, and a plastic nose guard covered in leather protects their nasal bones. Sometimes they wear plastic riot boots that cover their knees and fetlocks.

Most civilians are respectful of horses and like seeing them. However, in a violent crowd people sometimes throw rocks and bottles and if the horses are injured the police can't do their job.

Police horse saddle pads in the United States are blue with yellow trim so they match the officer's uniform.

Some saddle pads have saddlebags attached to store first aid kits and horse treats.

A police horse saddle pad

Western saddles can have cantle bags, and English saddles can have small bags clipped to rings on the back of the saddle.

Double bridles, Western bridles, and cavesson bridles are used depending on the horse's discipline. Kimberwicke, curb, snaffle and elbow bits are commonly used.

An Appaloosa Police horse wearing a halter bridle

The Saint Paul Police Department uses bridles that are built like halters so a lead rope can be clipped on. The lead rope is then looped around the horse's neck and clipped to itself. That way the officer can tie his horse up in an emergency.

Police horses wear reflective breastplates, browband covers and boots. Police equipment suppliers sell reflectors that attach to stirrups and tail covers.

Reflective police horse breastplate

Most Police horses are geldings (though some countries use stallions). Mares get cranky occasionally and male horses generally have more muscle mass.

Some Mounted Police forces require their horses to be at least 16 hands so that it will be harder for people on foot to reach the officers.

Since the horses are donated, any coat color is allowed. A grey horse is hard to keep clean, but if he's well trained, the grooming is worth it. If a horse's coat color looks strange (in a bad way) it might not be accepted (have to make a good impression on the public). That shouldn't really be a problem with Breyer horses, though.

If you don't want to make tack for Police horses, you can make tack for other mounted law enforcement units, like State Troopers, Mounted Patrol, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the US Border Patrol, or a Sheriff's Mounted Posse.

Ace's Police horse tack

Breyer Stablemate Ace wearing his Western Police horse tack.

Here's WatchMeAce, a red roan Quarter Horse Stablemate, in his new Western Police horse tack.

Ace's regular patrol gear includes a black Western saddle, an English snaffle bridle, a navy blue and yellow saddle blanket and leadrope, and a breastcollar.

Breyer Stablemate Ace wearing his Western Police horse tack.

Ace has heavy duty riot boots which protect his cannons and knees and have reflective stripes. His nose guard and visor also protect him in riots. Because he's so small, I had to attach the nose guard to the bridle permanently.

The latigo holder on the near (left) side of the saddle has a baton carrier attached with a public order baton in it. The baton is removable (kind of).

Breyer stablemate Ace's Western Police horse saddle with saddlebags and a baton holder

Back view of Breyer Stablemate Ace's police horse tack

The saddle bags on the horn and cantle hold treats for Ace, a first aid kit, and maybe supplies Ace's rider needs for a search and rescue mission. They are removable, unlike the baton holder or nose guard.

Breyer Stablemate Ace wearing his Western Police horse tack.

Trooper's police tack

Trooper's tack is more specialized than Remington's, because he is portraying a Police horse from a specific city- St. Paul, MN.

He is wearing a Police saddle that has large knee rolls for stability and rings near the cantle for attaching saddlebags. This saddle is more like an Endurance or Trail saddle than an All-Purpose English saddle. Not all cities use these saddles.

1:9 scale Police horse saddle on a Breyer Trooper

A saddlebag containing a First-Aid kit (and maybe some treats!) is clipped to the near side of the saddle. You can watch my video explaining how to make it here.

1:9 scale reflective Police Horse boots on a Breyer Trooper

Trooper's breastplate and boots are reflective, so he will be easier to spot when he is on the street.
This is pretty standard equipment for any Mounted Unit.

He is also tacked up in his visor and nose guard, in case today's event gets a little out of hand. His nose guard is custom made to fit on his large head, a smaller nose guard like Remington's wouldn't reach down to the noseband on his bridle.

1:9 scale Police horse visor and nose guard on a Breyer Trooper

Breyer Trooper wearing a Police horse halter bridle

Part of Trooper's unique gear includes a halter bridle instead of a cavesson or double bridle.

This bridle is different in two ways.

If you look at his poll, you'll notice that the crownpiece is not a single length of leather down to the noseband. Instead it attaches to a ring by Trooper's ear. And the throatlatch is three pieces of leather rather than a continuous loop.

The second unique feature is that the noseband is three pieces of leather connected by a halter square. Most English nosebands are a single continuous loop with a buckle on one end.

Back view of Breyer Trooper's Police horse halter bridle

From the back you can see the leather connector strap that attaches the throatlatch to the noseband and the ring that the lead rope clips to.

Trooper is wearing a Kimberwick bit, which is classified as a curb and therefore needs a curb chain.

The bit is attached to the bit hangers, which clip onto the oval rings on the cheek piece.

This bridle is an advanced project because of the multiple leather strips and all the hardware that have to fit precisely. If a strap is a millimeter off then the whole project won't work correctly.

Breyer Trooper wearing a Police horse halter bridle

Admiral's bulletproof vest

Admiral, the German Shepherd dog, is the first Schleich animal to work on the police force! He has a black bulletproof vest with a ring to attach a leash. The leash can tuck under the lacing on his back to keep it out of the way. The vest buckles under his stomach and on his shoulders.

Admiral the Schleich German Shepherd dog is wearing his bulletproof vest

Remington's Police tack

Remington is tacked up in riot gear and ready to go out on patrol. His tack is more standard tack that civilians use also.

He is wearing a clear plastic visor, a nose guard, a double bridle with a weymouth bit, a reflective breast plate, reflective boots, an All-Purpose English saddle and a navy and gold saddle blanket.

Breyer Remington wearing his Police horse tack

He has lead rope fastened around his neck like Trooper (most Police horses wear them).

His nose guard is plastic covered in leather to protect his nasal bones. The plastic visor protects his eyes, and Police horses feel more confident wearing their protective gear.

The reflective boots have magnetic closures (Note: Do not open and close the boots over and over to hear them snap shut or the magnets will come off!).

He is wearing a regular All-Purpose English saddle, but I will make him a custom Police horse saddle in the future. The equipment is pretty standard- a double bridle, English saddle and a reflective breastplate. The visor and nose guard are only worn during riots or big events.

Other police horse tack coming soon

Trooper will need plastic riot boots (his big legs will be perfect for them!) and a protective riot blanket. And a rider, of course.

My Lady Phase is going to get some Western Police horse tack, and the Schleich horses will be joining the force soon.

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