An initiative of Horse Sport Ireland

Irish Horses – In the line of duty

General November 4, 2013

“The Unit concentrates on Irish-bred horses as these tend to have the most suitable qualities. The Irish Horse lends itself to this type of work”. Garda Mounted unit Ireland

We live in a lightening fast digital age where all things move at extraordinary speed. In a world driven by technology and gadgetry you could be forgiven for thinking the horse as a working animal is redundant.

In fact horse power is still a welcome force in our modern cities as horses serve in the line of duty as working police horses. The Garda Mounted Unit in Ireland was established in 1998 to provide high visibility policing and crime prevention. The Unit is made up of primarily Irish Draught horses that  can stand at an imposing 16hh to 17 hh in height. For mounted police work the type of horse used is paramount.

Two Irish Sport horses in the UK mounted unit policing in Highbury for  Arsenal vs Liverpool match.

Two Irish Sport horses in the UK mounted unit policing in Highbury for Arsenal vs Liverpool match.

The Unit concentrates on Irish-bred horses as these tend to have the most suitable qualities. Horses are initially introduced on a 6 week trial and if suitable they are then trained to become police horses. This process involves slowly introducing them to the various hazards and problems they may encounter whilst on patrol or crowd duty.” Garda Mounted Unit

The Irish Draught and Irish Sport Horse by their very nature make ideal police horses. Some of their key characteristics are their exceptional trainability, calmness and bravery. They have superior bone which gives the horses their powerful presence on the modern streetscape. Based in one of Europe’s largest walled parks the Phoenix Park, the Mounted Unit includes stables, tack rooms, stores, paddocks and an all-weather training arena.

The Irish Horse is also favoured as a police horse by our nearest neighbours the United Kingdom.  In a 2011  Guardian article, which featured a day in the life of a mounted officer, spoke about the many  horses that serve in their mounted units coming from Ireland where breeding big, athletic horses is a specialism.

Further afield in Sweden Zeb a six year old purebred Irish Draught has joined the Swedish Mounted Police Unit, Zeb was bred in Co. Clare and exported in 2011 to Sweden.

So while Irish Horses are brave and calm, athletic and trainable and ideal for police work their versatility is endless.  Irish Horses make excellent horses to partner with from a days hunting to eventing, from local showing class to elite competition, from grand prix to olympics. Come to Ireland where you will find a horse for every rider ability, ambitions and dreams.

Find your next brave Irish Horse here on the Irish Horse Gateway (opens in new window)

For more information visit the  Garda Mounted Unit website (opens in new window)

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