Coimbatore

It began with 10 horses in 1991

Saddles used by policemen to ride the horses.— Photo: S. Siva Saravanan

Saddles used by policemen to ride the horses.— Photo: S. Siva Saravanan  

The Mounted Horse Unit of the city police was started in March 1991 with a set of 10 horses, five male and five female. The city was next only to the Chennai and Madurai city police units to get the unit and was headed by a head constable and had about a dozen other personnel to maintain and handle the animals.

Athian, Pary, Malayan, Kari and Pothigai were the male members of the unit, while the female horses in the unit were Cauvery, Bhavani, Ponni, Amaravathi and Vaigai. A person, who was with the unit at that point in time, said the horses were trained at the Mounted Horse Unit in Chennai from 1989 before they came here.

In the first ten years, three horses died one after the other due to illness. Of the remaining seven, three retired from service in 2005 due to old age and the rest in 2006. Athian and Pary were the last to retire. Aged horses were taken to a shelter for such horses, at St. Thomas Mount, in Chennai. Without replacement the unit had to be closed. The space for maintenance and upkeep of horses at the PRS Ground has been used as a parking lot for police vehicles and other purposes. Staff in the unit were deployed in other units of the department.

Over the years, the police commissioners took efforts to revive the unit, but they suffered a set back due to practical difficulties. In 2009, the city police even got sanction of funds from the State Government to buy six horses at Rs. 1.1 lakh each. But this could not be completed due to unavailability of horses with the Defence units in Delhi – from where the police usually bought horses.

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Printable version | Apr 9, 2020 7:40:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/It-began-with-10-horses-in-1991/article14417226.ece

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