Wednesday, November 14, 2012

On horses...and tennis balls

Ok, for every post published yesterday, I got at least one more calling me names for saying that I had fun throwing tennis balls at horses, as if I was some sort of mean guy or something. Well I'm not a mean guy, and I love horses. So now, as Paul Harvey used to say, I bring you the rest of the story.

I had to go for some work-related training yesterday because my job requires a number of training hours every year, most of which involves sitting in a class listening to someone tell me how I am supposed to do what I already do on a regular basis. Stupid but required, and since I'm still kinda in limbo status due to my wrist, I've been trying to knock as much of that out as possible, just for something to do it nothing else.

So I went to a class yesterday only to find that the class had been changed to another day. Worse, there was no other training available, either. They'd cancelled all of the day's classes for some reason and the people who sent me here never got the message. Like, seriously? I drove like 70 miles one way on my scheduled day off just to turn around and go home? Not cool. Pissed, I was.

However, all was not lost. As it turned out, in preparation for the inauguration of BO in January, several local police agencies were doing a combined training with their horse mounted units nearby and they needed a rent-a-mob to simulate a crowd for the horses to work in and around. One of the instructors happened to approach me on this. "You want to be a demonstrator for a few hours?"

"Is it training?" I asked, holding up my training sheet.

An understanding was reached. My training time sheet was marked off for four hours of generic "elective" training, and I walked off towards the horses yelling "Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho! The Kenyan Poser has got to go!" (I made that up myself. Catchy, huh?)

After a short introductory safety lecture on the horses and what we could/could not do, I spent much of the next few hours either being a passive demonstrator who just stood there in a crowd of other volunteers/draftees while the horses moved in formation near us and pushed us around, or an active demonstrator, where we got to yell loudly and wave our arms at the horses. Some of the horses really didn't care for this part, but others...well there were a couple there that I think would have killed all if they could. Those horses are no joke at all.

Then came the acid test: We were told to wave cloth banners at the horses and toss plastic bottles and tennis balls at them, either in front of their feet or over their heads, all while yelling loudly and jumping around. As before, some of the horses really didn't care for that at all, and one horse did pitch it's rider and run away, but it was quickly caught and put right back into the next rotation of horses, where it did better.

It was fun for a while, and I got to see a lot of horses up close and personal like I've not seen them before. Even in a training environment, a line of police horses is damned intimidating if you're part of it's focus; those horses will step on you or knock you flat if you don't move out of their way.

All in all, it was educational and fun, and I got lunch out of the deal as well as four hours of my required training signed off. But boy, you should have seen Murphy when I got home and he smelled the horses on me. I thought that he was going to sniff the color right out of my jeans. Poor confused dog. Heh.


  1. Interesting. You never think about stuff like that - officers are just up on horses.

  2. Sniff the color out of your jeans ... heh. :^)

  3. Sounds like a great day at the office! Me... not so much.

  4. Training AND learning :-) Not that you'd ever use what you learned... :-D

  5. It is probably good that Murphy wasn't there. His herding instincts would have made things really interesting.

  6. I was figuring it was something like that. I used to ride, horses who know what they're doing are scary and rightfully so...

  7. Being a demonstrator is tons of fun, I did that once in school. Riot squads (public safety units? -gotta go politically correct nowadays) are scary - I'd never want to face one for real.

    Glad you told the rest of the story, I was wondering what the horses did to deserve the tennis balls. :)

  8. Anonymous6:39 PM

    Well THAT explains a lot!

    Bonus: Training and having fun.
    Double-bonus: Freaking Murphy out.

  9. Did something like that once in the AF.

    The fun part: Infiltrating the flightline and making the Security Police look foolish.

    The not so fun part: Getting football tackled on cement and hog tied when they finally caught up with me.

    Glad you didn't get stepped on.

  10. Interesting. Never would have guessed.

  11. yep, btdt from the demonstrators side(useful idiot i). the horses are not playing. and if the fire trucks come out, go elsewhere.solid stream will kill/maim.


  12. Sounds like a fun way to spend a day!