CALEDONIA – Mounted Patrol Units from six Western New York police departments congregated at the Caledonia Fairgrounds Wednesday morning for their annual Spring Tune-Up, a free chance for horses and riders to build on one another’s abilities as well as a chance to enjoy day in the riding arena with dear friends.
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The Livingston County Sheriff’s Office, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Rochester Police Department, Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office, Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, and Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office came out to train and enjoy the chilly day.
“We do sensory exercises, crowd control, formation riding, lots of different situations,” said Sergeant Gary Cicoria, a founding member of Rochester Police Department Mounted Patrol in 1977 and later Livingston County Mounted Patrol in 1991. “We drive the patrol car through the arena with the lights and sirens going. We hold these signs and pretend to be a noisy crowd. We light hay and firecrackers and ride through the smoke. It’s all about being prepared for as many different situations as possible.”
Livingston County Mounted Patrol includes founding members Sergeant Gary Cicoria, Deputy Andrew Chanler, Deputy Pat Lynch, and Deputy John Morgan, and recently joined member Deputy Becky Kane. These Deputies are not only partners to their horses but full-time owners and caretakers, and provide all of their own equipment.
The newest member of Livingston County’s Mounted Patrol, a 6-year-old youngster horse named Merrick, exceeded expectations and impressed everyone at the fairgrounds at his first big police training session.
“You know, Judge Ron used to say you never get what you think you’ll get when you buy a horse, he’ll either be worse or better,” said Deputy John Morgan, Merrick’s partner and owner. “So far Merrick’s been better, I couldn’t ask him for more.”
Livingston County Sheriff Thomas Dougherty and Undersheriff Matthew Bean also came out to the Fairgrounds to see the action firsthand, and heard longtime Mounted Patrol members from all counties share their expertise.
“Sergeant Cicoria established Rochester’s Mounted Patrol in 1977, and I signed on in ’79,” said Monroe County Deputy Charlie Horst. “If you live and breathe it, it’s a passion. If you don’t have passion you don’t stay in it. In that case equitation is not worth the physical effort and effort to do it. Very few people get to make a living doing something they are passionate about, and I am one of those people.”
PHOTO CAPTION: (Photos/Conrad Baker)
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