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Calgary Police induct new horse into Mounted Unit

Kapyong, the newest member of the Calgary Police Service, received its Police Service Horse (PSH) badge on Thursday in the service’s continuing tradition to honour veterans and Canadian Battles.

PSH Kapyong was so named after the April 1951 battle that saw 700 Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry members defend a crucial hill against more than 5,000 Chinese People’s Volunteer Army soldiers during the Korean War.

Constable Tory Fassnidge, PSH Kapyong’s handler, was presented with the badge during the ceremony.

“We’re committed to honoring the courageous acts of so many men and women who fought for our freedoms—it’s also our duty to remember their sacrifice,” said Calgary Police Service Chief Constable Mark Neufeld.

The service began naming Police Service Horses after Canadian battles to commemorate veterans in 2016.

Calgary Police Service Mounted Unit Supervisor Robin Koltusky called PSH Kapyong a horse that has already exhibited strong values.

“Kapyong has shown a great deal of determination, loyalty and skill,” she said.

“[His] strongest skill is his ability to take the lead step without refusal. He is bold, confident and brave.”

PSH Kapyong is a 9-year-old Canadian-cross Percheron gelding that is 16.2 hands tall.

He is now the seventh member of the service’s PSH herd.

“The service has been around for about 137 going on 138 years in the in the city here, and the Mounted Unit has been a large part of our history,” said Chief Neufeld.

“We have lots of officers who are from rural farming backgrounds and that type of thing where they’re interested in horses, and some are brand new, they actually develop the love, and they want to go in there.”

Constable Tory Fassnidge, left, rides the Calgary Police Service’s newest herd member, Police Service Horse Kapyong, during a Mounted Unit badge ceremony at Garrison Park in Calgary on Wednesday, April 26, 2023. Kapyong was indicted into the service, becoming the seventh Mounted Unit horse. ARYN TOOMBS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Mounted unit has continued relevance for CPS

Chief Neufeld said that the Mounted Unit remains an important one for the Calgary Police Service, in both operational and heritage capacities.

“I think the the daily relevance is with a lot of the social disorder and the protest environment that we’ve seen,” he said.

“It gives officers an elevated platform where they can actually see what’s going on when they’re looking after safety.”

He said that the horses also provide a calming effect on crowds.

“We’ve seen them go out successfully [on] Steven Avenue, downtown, all around the city,” Neufeld said.

“Most recently they’ve been deployed on transit as well. They are approached by young people, old people, newcomers to Canada, and it’s just a great way to be able to make connections with officers as well really well received by Calgarians.”

Chief Neufeld said that one of the less publicly seen aspects of Mounted Unit deployment is in search and rescue operations. Especially, said Chief Neufeld, because horses can go places other police resources can’t.

“I can tell you when somebody’s missing, it really matters,” he said.

“Horses can go places where no other vehicle can, it’s as simple as that. So they’ve been used in that in that way quite a lot, and I think it’s a very important use which has been actually instrumental to the location of people and reuniting them with families.”