Asbury Service Mount Horses Join Police Forces Across the U.S. – Asbury University
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Asbury Service Mount Horses Join Police Forces Across the U.S.

February 21, 2024

In April 2024, nine Asbury police horses trained by 14 Equine students will join mounted unit departments at the University of Massachusetts; the Massachusetts State Police; Nashville, Tenn.; Atlanta, Ga.; Hampden, Mass.; and Scottsdale, Ariz.

“We really couldn’t be more pleased and blessed with the leadership opportunity this provides for our students or the amazing, unequaled quality of horses that are being sent from Asbury University — across the United States — to serve alongside the brave men and women who protect us daily as part of mounted units,” said Asbury Equine Director and Associate Professor Harold Rainwater ’69.

Celebrating 26 years of the Equine Program, Asbury University is the only university in America with a police horse training program conducted by the students. In 2001, through participation with the National Police Horse Colloquium at the Kentucky Horse Park, Asbury University students began training Percheron/Thoroughbred-crossed horses to be used for service mount units.

“Asbury is fortunate to be located in Central Kentucky, the heart of horse country,” said Asbury University President Dr. Kevin Brown. “As a Christian University that has spent well over a century in this region, we are so thankful to celebrate a world-class equine program with world-class staff and faculty on world-class Kentucky bluegrass property.” 

Along with the police mounts’ work, in 2022, the Equine Department launched the Equine Assisted Services major for those interested in working in therapeutic settings with horses helping patients physically, mentally and emotionally.

“Equine Assisted Services is a relatively new concept,” Rainwater said. We are exploring a new frontier by uniting horses and the needs of people with God. With a focus on serving people and helping horses, we have graduates who serve in nearly every area of the horse world, such as veterinarians, trainers, and therapists.”

“This major is for students who are interested in learning how to incorporate equines into services for humans, including healthcare services, education services, and adaptive riding services,” said Cathrin Wilbanks ’11, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Equine Studies. “This program offers growth and healing opportunities, through connecting with horses and entering their world. We are at a prime place to provide students with career routes that make sense and lead to jobs in the equine industry.”

In October of 2022, the Asbury University Equine Program dedicated the 29,000-square-foot Henry and Elsie Bayless Arena, a new facility that includes 26 stalls and a Western riding arena on Asbury’s 343-acre Equine property. This arena accommodates growth in the Police Mounts and Western Riding programs. Learn more about the Asbury University Equine Department: