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Frankly Speaking: Dangers Facing Police Horse Farriers


Pictured Above: As the sun sets in Philadelphia on May 30, 2020, Dennis Hall sets up his rig to service the police department’s mounted unit.

By the nature of the business, farriery is a dangerous job in which your fate can change without warning. Even the most skillful horseperson is one horse away from loss of career or worse. Beyond the horse, factor in the equipment carried on a shoeing rig and used on a daily basis. As the cliché goes, accidents happen.

Farriers accept the inherent danger presented with their work, but other circumstances can increase the risk. Yet, under these circumstances, farriers continue to deliver vital hoof care to horses.

Answering the Call

Farriers who provide footcare for police department mounted units have recently worked under tougher conditions. Dennis Hall, along with his father James, have been the farriers for the Philadelphia Police Department Mounted Unit since its reinstatement in 2011.

Like other cities in the United States, protests and riots erupted in response to the deaths of George Floyd and other black citizens. The already polarizing subjects tied to these deaths have been amplified with the November presidential election approaching. Nonetheless, police horses are enlisted as invaluable instruments for surveillance and crowd control. As horses, they deserve quality hoof care to do their job, which requires a skilled farrier on call.

On May 30, civil unrest in Philadelphia resulted in the mounted unit being called into Center City. Although the horses typically are shod in their stable…

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Jeremy mcgovern

Jeremy McGovern

Jeremy McGovern has been a journalist for nearly 20 years. He has been a member of the American Farriers Journal staff for 7 years and serves as the Executive Editor/Publisher. A native of Indiana, he also is a member of the board of directors for the American Horse Publications organization of equine media.

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