Beersheba, trained by Armidale-resident Christine McClelland, is performing well in the NSW Mounted Police Unit

PART OF TRADITION: Armidale resident Christine McClelland, who used to own Beersheba, visited the horse at a ceremony held in Sydney.
PART OF TRADITION: Armidale resident Christine McClelland, who used to own Beersheba, visited the horse at a ceremony held in Sydney.

THE HORSE that nearly spent its life in a paddock has found his hooves as the newest recruit for the NSW Mounted Police Unit.

Beersheba, who was trained in Armidale by Christine McClelland, is excelling in his police horse training.

NSW Mounted Police Unit Sergeant Melinda Duncan said Beersheba was given his name to commemorate 100 years since the battle.

“We chose him to have that name because out of all the horses we’ve got this year, he’s the one who looked closest to those lighthorse,” Sergeant Duncan said.

The horses are trained in flat work in the yard to see how they move off the leg, their response to halting and their transitions.

Once they’re assessed they head onto the streets of Sydney with a more experienced horse.

Beersheba has already been involved in a service to commemorate the battle, despite being new to the troop.

“It’s like he was born to do it, he’s a sweet little horse,” Sergeant Melinda Duncan said.

“He’s quiet – he’s really fallen on his hooves here.

“He copes in a stable environment, in saying that we haven’t taken him down to King’s Cross on a Saturday night yet.”

Every horse begins slowly, and eventually moves up to environments with bigger crowds and more action.

A large part of their work is done in a troop, the horses have to be able to stand still with others and remain calm.

The biggest benefit to the Mounted Unit is better sight lines in crowds, Sergeant Duncan said.

“We can see over fences, we can see over crowds, if there’s a problem in a crowd crush foot police can get in and tackle the problem,” she said.

”They say one horse is equal to ten foot police, we can move large crowds of people in a troop line.

“It’s good for breaking down barriers in the community, some people feel more comfortable approaching a mounted police officer than a normal foot officer.”

Beersheba will one day be involved in bigger ceremonial events, such as Governor’s escorts and ANZAC Day marches. “We’re very traditional in that regard,” Sergeant Duncan said.