Frequently Asked Questions

Can we pet your horses?
Provided that we are not engaged in a police activity such as a traffic stop, custodial arrest or response to a crime problem we encourage you to come and say hello to us and our horses. Please be sure to ask for permission before petting our horses. We ask that you never approach a horse from the rear; if the horse is startled, it may kick with its powerful hind legs and cause serious injury to bystanders.

Where do you keep your horses?
Our horses are stabled at a private boarding facility. Each horse has a private stall in addition to acres of grassland to graze on. They are trailered into Minneapolis, which is a short 20 minute commute. They are trailered back to the ranch and are out in the pasture until their next feeding.

Are your horses male or female?
We generally utilize geldings as police horses, and ten of our horses are such. Geldings are males that are unable to reproduce, and generally have more even temperaments than other horses. We currently have one mare- an adult female horse.

How is the height of a horse measured?
A horse is measured from the ground to its withers (at the base of the neck). The unit of measurement is called a hand, which is equal to 4 inches. Measurement by this means was first recorded in ancient Egypt.

Who owns the horses?
The City of Minneapolis owns a majority of the horses. Others are on loan by a private owner and will be returned to them at the end of their contract.

Do you take care of your horses?
Our full-time members and the staff at our stables does an excellent job of maintaining stalls, paddocks, and providing adequate shelter, food, and water, we take great pride in caring for our horses. Our horses are groomed by their riders every day they work. We monitor them for any ailments, and make sure they receive top-notch veterinary and farrier care. When we are on the streets of Minneapolis, we always make sure that we have a good supply of hay and water. If we take care of our horses, they will take care of us.

How often do you train your horses?
Our horses (and riders) are in constant training. While we do hold formal training, being on the streets of Minneapolis every day presents many opportunities for enhancements of skills. Horses- being prey animals- have a strong flight response. Sights, sounds, smells, and tactile experiences  can induce a horse to "spook". We take sensory training as seriously as we do equitation and horsemanship.

How many mounted units are in the State of Minnesota?
Minneapolis Mounted Police is the last Mounted Unit in the state; Duluth disbanded in 2017 and St. Paul in 2019. In addition to Minneapolis, there are county-based "posses" that operate under auspices of respective sheriff's offices throughout the state. The Minnesota Mounted Posse Association facilitates inter-agency communication and networking.

Why do your horses wear those bands around their legs while on patrol?
Those bands are simply a reflective Velcro fabric that acts as a visibility safety feature while working in and around traffic. They do not constrict the horse's legs, and are not equine wraps.

What do your horses eat?
Our horses graze on grass or hay and are fed grain at regularly scheduled meals times. Whether at the stable or on the street, our horses also have an abundant supply of water. All of our horses enjoy occasional treats such as carrots, apples, and peppermints.

Do your horses bite?
Our horses, like all horses, are herd animals and can occasionally bite each other. We discourage this behavior as much as possible. Our horses generally do not bite humans with the intent of inflicting harm, but they can mistake body parts like fingers and hair for possible food. Please ask us for permission to pet our horses, and remember not to put your hands near the horse's mouth without prior approval.  

How do horses react to hot and cold weather?

Our horses live outside and develop thick winter coats which allow them to remain warm during cold months. In the summer, we provide them with fans and a constant supply of water to stay cool, as well as regular baths.

How long do horses live?
While life expectancy varies with breed, horses generally live around 25-30 years.

Do you clean up horse droppings?
By law we are not required to clean up after our horses while on patrol. However, we do make every attempt to clean up when the droppings fall in unwanted areas such as sidewalks, private driveways, and yards, crosswalks, and in front of establishments. If a citizen requests that we clean up droppings, we make every attempt to do so. Horse droppings has no protein in it, and it is primarily made up of hay, grain and water. Droppings decompose very quickly.

Where do the horses go to "retire"?
The amount of training that goes into selecting and training a police horse is quite extensive with consideration given to anatomical, physiological, and personality evaluation. Most horses are several years old before being considered. There is no set time period for their utilization as police horses, but when a horse appears ready to retire we find a good home for him.

Do you sell your merchandise online?

Not yet! If there is an item you know you want, feel free to contact us and we will do our best to help you purchase it and get it to you! Our online store will hopefully be up and running by November 2019.

I'd like to support the Minneapolis Mounted Police Foundation. How can I help?
There are many ways to show support. Let City Government officials know that you appreciate this service that the police department provides.
> "Like" us on Facebook
> Purchase our merchandise
> Become a volunteer by filling out online contact form.
> Make a tax-deductible donation: MAIL DONATIONS TO: Minneapolis Mounted Police Foundation 19 N 4 St. Minneapolis, MN 55401
> Now accepting on-line donations! Click the DONATE button!