Graduating from the Houston Police Academy in 1981, I strived to be a good cop and provide true service to the people of the City of Houston. In 1984 I applied and was accepted into the mounted unit which was being started for a trial period of one year. I had no horse experience, but the unit was looking for good police officers and would train the officer in their riding school. We grew from a fourteen horse herd to, eventually at our peak, to forty two horses because of the success of the unit and our commitment to Crime, Community and Crowds. Police horses are an amazing asset and do an incredible job working on the streets of Houston.
During that time from 1984 to the end of the 1990’s I grew into a very accomplished rider and started to help with training of the horses and officers. Our training and horse care practices and were based on the United States Cavalry. This consisted of stalls, two flakes of hay a day, and many pounds of bagged horse feed, and metal shoes.
In the late 1990’s I started really observing and taking note of these traditional practices. We were having a lot of lameness, colic, skin, and behavior issues with our horses and handled them the traditional way. This meant medicines, different options with metal shoes and traditional vet practices. We were retiring or euthanizing many horses I believed still had the ability to serve. We needed changes and our horses were yelling at us to change.
I promoted changing from metal shoes to barefoot, and in 2002 started pulling shoes and beginning to work the horses barefoot. He met with a lot of resistance, threats and extraordinarily little support in the beginning. With each successful transition, the barefoot movement in the unit became stronger. In 2006 all of our horses were barefoot, living and working much longer, with less behavioral issues and saving the City of Houston, the police department and taxpayers thousands of dollars of tax money.
After retiring in 2017, I went to work for Panther Creek Inspiration Ranch as their horse manager for several years. In 2020 I helped to found a new nonprofit called HorseThrive to provide assistance and guidance for other organizations, working primarily with service horses, in natural hoof care and horsemanship. Besides working on the feet of the horses at Henry’s Home for the last few years, Greg has also been an advisor to our Equine Director, and now is making donations to us through his nonprofit to help our horses walk easier.