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No Riding, But Plenty Of Work Horse-Mounted Patrol

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Sergeant David Schlosser of the U.S. Park Police feeds a police horse. Keeping the horses fed and hydrated at an outdoor facility is a challenge during the storm. 
Jonathan Wilson
Sergeant David Schlosser of the U.S. Park Police feeds a police horse. Keeping the horses fed and hydrated at an outdoor facility is a challenge during the storm. 

By Jonathan Wilson

Not every challenge posed by this winter storm comes down to salting and plowing. The U.S. Park Police Horse-Mounted Patrol faces some unique difficulties weathering the storm on the National Mall.

Mark Asmussen is going through his first winter assigned to horse-mounted patrol the National Mall.

"This is the most snow I've ever seen in my life," Asmussen says. "I grew up in Tennessee."

Asmussen says the horses living in the outdoor stables here actually seem to like snow.

"We were able to let them out over the weekend, and they seemed to have a ball with it, but once it's this deep, we have to worry about they're safety," he says.

So the officers wont be doing any riding today; they wont have much time to relax.

Keeping the the horses fed and hydrated in weather like this is a challenge. Each horse drinks 12 to 15 gallons of water a day, ideally lukewarm.

The stables don't have an automatic watering system, so for officers that means lots of trips carrying a five-gallon bucket filled to the brim.

"Each horse's [bucket] has to be filled individually multiple times a day...trying to carry the hay and grain, and keeping the walkway clear, its an all-day battle," Officer Jeff Bloch says.

There are 13 horses housed at the National Mall stables. U.S. Park Police have a total of 45 horses at different stables spread across the D.C. region.

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