NOPD mounted unit welcomes mini mascot

The diminutive, one-eyed pinto will provide companionship to police horses and emotional support to officers

The New Orleans Police Department Mounted Unit is the beneficiary of the annual “Horses, Hops and Cops” fundraiser, recently rescheduled for January 31 at its City Park stables in New Orleans, Louisiana. One of the key attractions: the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales, who are in town for the Mardi Gras parades.

But this year, the massive Clydesdales will be sharing the spotlight with a new horse on the other end of the weight (and size) scale. Last week, the NOPD Mounted Unit welcomed a one-eyed miniature horse donated by COPS 8 President Jessica Dietz to the NOPD’s new superintendent, Anne Kirkpatrick.

A heartwarming moment

A horse lover who is looking forward to seeing the mounted unit “in action” at her first Mardi Gras, Kirkpatrick was overcome with emotion during the presentation of this generous gift. With an excitement most horse folk will appreciate, she could not stop hugging the pinto mini, who, at this writing, is being called “Little Patch.”

The heartwarming moment was recorded on video and posted on the NOPD’s social media pages.

The inspiration

The gift was inspired by an earlier surprise visit from a miniature horse as part of the NOPD’s “Secret Santa” holiday gift exchange. In her Secret Santa request, Kirkpatrick said she had asked for a pair of Pelican socks or one cup of coffee at Starbucks or–every little girl’s dream–“a pony under the Christmas tree.”

Jessica Dietz, Little Patch and Anne Kirkpatrick
NOPD social media

Her Secret Santa, Officer Leslie Guzman, took the request to heart, and the result was a memorable visit from Sugar Roots Farm’s Chiquito. Kirkpatrick was ecstatic, a moment that was also captured on video and posted on social media. “I can’t believe you did this for me!” she said repeatedly, overjoyed at the very sight of the very fuzzy (and extremely huggable) little horse.

According to a department posts last week, “President Jessica Dietz saw how much Supt. Kirkpatrick liked Officer Leslie Guzman’s Secret Santa gift and decided the mounted unit could use a mini horse. Not only will Patch be the superintendent’s friend and the unit’s new one-eyed mascot, he also has a very important job: being a companion to the other horses, reducing their anxiety and relieving boredom!”

In addition, Little Patch might provide emotional support to the officers themselves, a local television station reported.

Too small for patrol

The newest member of the mounted unit is said to have been selected with help from April Savoy of Clear Creek Stud. Patch is reportedly 15 years old and stands 36 inches tall—obviously too small to go on patrol but a valuable member of the unit just the same.

“I don’t deserve this gift, this blessing,” Kirkpatrick said of the equine surprise. “It’s so kind of you!”

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