Trooper was on duty with his mounted unit officer Const. Gregg John in the saddle. John and Trooper were trotting on Dufferin Street when the horse It was a grey, rainy day as the police horse trotted up Dufferin St.
Somehow Trooper’s hoof stubbed the curb. That simple clip of hoof on curb hurled horse and rider into the wet street directly into the path of a quickly-approaching tractor-trailer.
The team of John and Trooper experienced an incredible close call. Recalls John, “Luckily for us the driver of the truck was able to stop a distance away.
They lived through that close call without any obvious injuries that could be seen. But it was not that easy for Trooper. He was not the same horse after that day. He was afraid of big trucks and really could not be ridden around town by any officer.
To use police jargon, Trooper was no longer bomb proof.
While some officers thought Trooper should be retired, John believed he had to face his fear.
We just had to put miles on him, and that meant getting him on the road, exposing him to everything you can.
John began retraining Trooper, taking him everywhere around Toronto. He exposed Trooper to noise, traffic, rush hour and even tractor-trailers. All that time, energy and training began to pay off.
During the weekend competition at the North American Police Equestrian Championships between Canadian and American mounted units held in Richmond, Virginia, the team of John and Trooper placed first in every event. This was a first in the championships’ 30-year history.
John was all smiles and said,
It’s vindication. It’s icing on the cake. It’s concrete evidence of a lot of hard work.
Trooper is phenomenal, but he is not without his little quirks. He’s not perfect at anything, but he’s very, very good at everything. That is the benefit to having him.
The Toronto mounted police unit also came in first place overall at the international competition.
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See also this video of Jake, a horse that recovered from a near fatal accident go through his paces at the Championships