Friday, June 26, 2020

Officer Barney: Always on Duty - Full Article

Emily Daily
June 25, 2020

It’s not often that a horse has had a million hands pet him throughout his lifetime, but for Officer Barney, a retired mounted police horse, that number is no exaggeration.
For 12 years, the 17-hand Belgian gelding was the lead horse for the Baltimore Mounted Police Unit (the oldest mounted police force* in the United States), but now at age 24, he’s enjoying a quieter life performing a different type of public service.

From Amish Country to the Big City

Barney’s tale begins on the outskirts of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where he worked as the lead horse for a six-horse hitch on an Amish farm. Janine Gilley, a now-retired Baltimore City Police Officer, was hunting for a strong, steady horse to join the ranks of the city’s mounted unit and visited the farm to try out their horses. The horse she’d traveled to see didn’t pan out for the intended job, but something about Barney caught her eye—he seemed like just the type who’d fit in with her unit. She made the farmer an offer on his prized lead horse, and soon enough Barney was en-route to his new home in the city.

Barney had little riding experience, but it didn’t take long for him to master his new duties in Baltimore. At six years old, Barney was a quick learner and epitomized all the special qualities needed for the force: bravery, patience, and most importantly, a kind disposition...

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