With the retirement of one Wichita police horse and the impending retirement of a second, the department wants to add a new horse to the mounted unit — a Clydesdale.
“This is a need that needs to be fulfilled now,” said Becca Boldra, executive director of the Wichita Police Foundation.
Boldra said the department doesn’t have money in its budget to buy a new horse, so the police foundation has organized a Horse for Heroes campaign to raise $20,000 for the Clydesdale and tack. The foundation has already found a horse that meets the department’s basic requirements, though it would go through additional police training.
“The horse has right the right temperament, has the right height, has already been in parades and has been exposed to large groups of people,” Boldra said. “... Because of this Clydesdale’s size, it will allow the officers to have a better vantage point when they’re in crowd management and crowd control situations.”
Clydesdales also have larger hooves than standard quarter horses, which provide the larger breed with better stability when working long hours on concrete during weekends in Old Town and at large events, Boldra said. Their calmer and more social nature leads them to respond better when surrounded by people.
“He has a really special personality,” Boldra said of the horse the foundation plans to buy. “He is so calm, you can walk right up to him. The farm that he was at, there were some little kids running by, and he remained calm.”
The horse, which is 4 years old, has the potential to serve on the department for 15 to 20 years if he stays healthy, Boldra said.
Donations to help buy the Clydesdale and new equipment for the larger horse can be made online at www.wichitapolicefoundation.org or mailed to the Wichita Police Foundation at P.O. Box 782736 in Wichita, Kansas.
The fundraiser campaign includes sponsorship levels. The top sponsor level includes naming rights to the Clydesdale, subject to Wichita Police Department approval.