"No Longer A One Horse Town"
It was exactly this time last year, I was hanging out on West End at Birmingham’s Mounted Patrol barn documenting the stable of exquisite equine public servants housed there and cared for by some of the city’s finest police officers.
I have always been a lover of animals, in general, and horses, in particular. So, when Laura Buchanan asked if would be interested, I tried to sound cool, but I may have accidentally yelped a little.
Anyway, it was an unseasonably cold day, crazy cold actually. But, the warmth of these officers, tending to their “patrol vehicles” was a tenderness I didn’t expect to find. Each officer is paired with a particular horse. This is not by random selection. The personalities and temperaments are matched up in such a way that they fit together so naturally that deep bonds are formed between officer and animal. So deep, in fact, that these policemen come in to stroke and provide treats for their charge even on off days.
I was surprised and charmed by the whole experience. And proud, even. Proud because I get to live in a city that fosters this mutually beneficial, tender, loving relationship between man and beast in a unique partnership to protect and serve it’s people.
Anyway, these are just some straight up, documentary images. Nothing fancy. But, I think they are beautiful. Mostly, because horses are stunning creatures. Ridiculously stunning creatures.
You may wonder, “why”? Why would the city of Birmingham, Alabama police department go to all the trouble and expense to acquire, train and maintain a barn full of horses these days when they could be toodling around the city on high tech modes of transportation, like seguays and glossy Crown Vics. I did. Julie Keith explains it all beautifully in this article: