The Ideal Search Horse
Horses in the Mounted Section ideally need to fit the following criteria:
Breed – Horse accepted into the Unit need to be sure-footed and capable (and willing) of putting in a full days work. The Unit’s string consists of, or has consisted of, Thoroughbreds, Standardbreds, Morgans, Arabians, Appaloosas, Stockhorses, Warmbloods and Quarterhorses. Purebred heavy draughts such as Clydesdales however are less suitable due to their sheer size, their huge feet making them less nimble in steep, rocky terrain. Cross-breeds however have proven their worth on many searches in the past.
Age – Horses must be over four years old, the rigours of a full day’s search in rough terrain quite taxing on young stock, and the level of education and tractability required comes with experienced, older horses that have been out and about a good part of their working life. Aged horses also make good mounts for search work – having seen out their competition days, mounted search could be an enjoyable natural progression to see out their working years. Maximum age however should be 25 years.
Gender - Mares and geldings are accepted into the Unit. Both genders have excelled in the work and proven their tractability in all circumstances. The acceptance of a stallion is at the Local Manager’s discretion and is gauged on the nature of the animal and the experience of the rider/handler.
Height – Horses accepted into the Unit range from 17+ hands to a minimum 14.2 hands. Horses under 14.2 find it difficult keeping up with the larger horses when trooping to search areas and in line abreast searches and tend to jog or rush, making it difficult for the rider to adequately search the ground by eye. A team evenly matched in height and stride length makes for a more thorough search of the ground by all concerned.
The following Essential and Desirable requirements are listed below:
All horses in the Mounted Section should bring pride to the rest of the team by their behaviour and appearance.