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NYPD Shoe

Farrier explains how the horses who carry New York's Tallest are kept safe and sound and shares what he's learned about traction

The New York City Police Department has 100 horses to patrol the city’s five boroughs. From the inception in 1871 to protect citizens from runaway carriage horses, these horses and their riders have evolved into an elite unit whose primary function is crowd control, observation and public relations. Known as “New York’s Tallest,” these officers dressed in blue and gold and mounted on well-groomed horses are among the attractions tourists love.

Darryl Marciano, Jim Murtagh and I have the task of keeping this unit going. Marciano is a veteran with more than 20 years on the job. Murtagh is the newest member of our team.

A cadre of grooms or hostlers are in charge of the daily needs of the horses and do a great job of keeping the horses and their stalls clean.

Many of the horses have been donated to the program, meaning we shoe all kinds of breeds, including Thoroughbreds, Quarter Horses, crossbreeds and warm bloods.

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TRACTION IN BACK. This hind shoe shows how Jerry Trapani likes to place Borium on police horses: well forward of the heels at the end of the shoe crease; and in the toe, back on the web of the shoe, to encourage earlier breakover. Shown at right is a hind shoe applied to a horse’s foot.

Little Shoe Lameness

Despite the fact that police horses work exclusively on hard surfaces, by using sound shoeing principles and paying attention to balance, we find there is very little shoe-related lameness. If lameness does…

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