The horse whisperers – Gujarat Police Horses
It is good and interesting to see gentle horse training methods used throughout the world. ~ HfH
From: Times of India
By: Parth Shastri
AHMEDABAD: Task masters of Gujarat police’s 585 horses, the largest equestrian force in the country second only to the Indian Army as a single institution, believe in love over force. They are the horse whisperers who follow the principles of developing a rapport with horses by using communication techniques derived from observation of free-roaming horses, and reject abusive training methods.
The beautiful horses have captured the imagination of the city with their smooth moves and sexy looks at the ongoing All India Police Equestrian Meet. L F Vasava, inspector with state’s mounted police unit, says that the first lesson he learnt on the job was ‘you don’t teach the horses; they teach you’. “I have never seen an animal more loyal and intelligent than horse. Once it strikes rapport with you, it can feel your vibes, abide by your whims and seldom complains,” he adds.
The state police officials are proud of the fact that the riders seldom use force. “Earlier, there were brutal ways to break the wild stallions but in past 20 to 30 years, the entire training has almost become psychological. We at Gujarat police have devised 42-week training regime for the horses getting inducted, known as remount training. It involves gradual stages from getting it acclimatize to the rider and surroundings to the highest level of alertness and agility,” says Vasava.
The world history has got completely revised due to single game changer – horse power. Right from our legends of Mahabharata to the era of First World War, horses as part of cavalry units formed the most crucial part of any army. Considered to be first used in the warfare by central Asian nomads, horses helped many empires to extend their boundaries. The period got over with World War I where more than 9 lakh horses died with advent of weapons such as battle tank. “It was the British that introduced police on horseback in 1760. Since then, many police forces around the world, especially having colonial history, inducted horses as force multiplier and used it primarily for patrol, escort, surveillance and riot control. It was their importance that created need for their better training and maintenance,” says R D Jhala, retired IPS officer from the state and an expert on equine.
Gujarat and horses
State police is second largest cavalry unit with a single organization only after Indian Army. Against the provisions for a total of 606 horses, the state police currently have 585 horses of Kathiawadi, Marwari, Thoroughbred, mixed breed and country breed. The state also has 1,000 officers and personnel in its mounted unit.