The thunderclap of horseshoes bellows in the distance and an occasional neigh breaks its steady rhythm as some of the most splendid examples of police equines in the country kick up the dirt at Ghoda Camp.
Recently, the Gujarat Police acquired 100 new horses for their mounted division, taking the total equine strength across the state to 606. This makes it the largest population among the country’s various police forces, claim officials. Of these, 33 horses will be hand-picked and trained for the upcoming All-India Police Equestrians Meet, scheduled to be hosted in the city in January 2014.
“Eighty-six of the newly-acquired horses are with us while the remaining 14 have been sent to the division’s other training camp in Rajkot. While, the core population at our camp is 46 horses,” said police inspector – Ahmedabad mounted division and also in-charge at the camp, LF Vasava. Ghoda Camp at Asarwa is the training hub of the state police’s mounted division.
The new addition to their stable comprises four breeds — Kathiawadi, Marwari, Thoro and cross-breed. “The cross-breed between Kathiawadi and Marwadi horses is the hardiest among them.
Hence, we have acquired them in the largest number, followed by Marwari and then the other two,” Vasava informed.
According to him, it will take a minimum period of 10 months to train and prepare them for mounted police duty.
“Following this, various duties including night and day patrolling in the city outskirts, along village perimeters in rural parts, as well as along the international and state borders are assigned. In addition, these horses also serve in the mounted police bandobast for VVIPs and at police parades. However, the crème de la crème among them are our special 33,” said Vasava.
Based on the performance, learning ability and composure during training, the division picks the 33 horses and three substitutes to represent it at competition events at the national level. The biggest among these events is the All-India Police Equestrians’ Meet as its next edition is scheduled to be held at Ghoda Camp and Shahibaug police stadium from January 2 to 10, 2014.
Vasava along with Vadodara division PSI MS Barot has represented the state on various occasions and won previously. While the PI has clinched 8 gold medals, 8 silver and 6 bronze, Barot has 6 gold, 5 silver and 3 bronze to his credit. Vasava picked up the tally astride his cross-bred mare Jyoti — otherwise known Gujarat Express — while Barot can be found galloping a Thoro horse named Shunya (zero) at the events. These equines take at least three years to train to reach competition levels, Barot informed.
“The state police’s mounted division is among the winningest in the country and has won around 375 medals in the 3-decade history of the All-India event. Dressage, slow jumping, tent pegging and cross country are some of the events we excel at,” Vasava said.
When not on duty, these horses are assigned patrolling duties at Narol, Naroda and Sola among other areas. They also perform at state functions on Republic Day, Independence Day as well as the upcoming Kanakaria Carnival regularly.