New Tack, Equipment for the New Orleans Mounted Unit

When the levees broke and flooded New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, the city's mounted police unit stables in City Park had been evacuated, but a majority of the unit's tack and equipment was left behind.

On Feb. 2, the American Association of Equine Practitioners Foundation (AAEP, Lexington, Ky.), the Louisiana Veterinary Medical Association's Equine Committee (LVMA, Baton Rouge, La.), and Tucker Saddlery (Yoakum, Texas) presented 20 saddles, bridles, and other items to the unit at the Department's stables.

The AAEP Foundation and the LVMA Equine Committee formed equine disaster relief funds in the days and weeks following the storm. According to the AAEP, veterinarians, horse owners, equine organizations, and corporations from across the United States donated generously to these groups, which have been helping horse owners throughout the Gulf Region. (Read more stories about Katrina recovery at

Attending this presentation were: New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Warren J. Riley; Mounted Division Captain Clarence Hebert; Jay Addison, DVM, representing the LVMA Equine Committee; Gary Norwood, DVM, representing the AAEP Foundation; Joey Templat of SACS Western Store, representing Tucker Saddlery; and various human and equine officers of the New Orleans Mounted Patrol.

Addison was instrumental in both helping with the rescuing horses in the days following Katrina, and also in helping to get the LVMA Equine Committee fund launched.

The NOPD stables literally spent days underwater when the city flooded, and items within the barn were a complete loss. In addition to the replacement tack and other equipment presented, Addison explained, "We had a really nice horse trailer that was donated to us .... and we used it during the hurricane recovery, but we really haven't had much use for it since," said Addison. The committee realized that the officers and their mounts had no options for getting out of the weather when they were patrolling during Mardi Gras, so they thought "perhaps the trailer would be something that could be well-used by them. You don't know when you'll have another incident like this, so having the trailer in the hands of the police department would maybe give us the option. We have developed a relationship and rapport we could work hand in hand on some of this stuff.

"Financially the city is struggling, and here's a group of men and women that dedicate their lives to protecting us, and they're doing it on horseback without a whole lot of support from the city or everywhere else," he said.

"I think (this development) should be a message to all those people throughout the country that donated to the LVMA Equine Committee Foundation," he added. "The money's getting out there and there's still a lot of recovery left to do. The money's going to obviously good use and I think having the New Orleans Mounted Division up and ready for Mardi Gras is a sign of recovery, and the money is going where it was intended to go."

Addison pointed out that funds had been sent to other areas that don't have "quite the profile" of the NOPD mounted unit, and that this is "certainly a symbol of recovery and regrowth."

About the Author

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief, received a B.A. in Journalism and Equestrian Studies from Averett College in Danville, Virginia. A Pony Club and 4-H graduate, her background is in eventing, and she is schooling her recently retired Thoroughbred racehorse, Happy, toward a career in that discipline. She also enjoys traveling, photography, cycling, and cooking in her free time.

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