Celebrating Our Police Horse’s 11th Birthday
A cluster of neighbors and I recently gathered for a special event with two unique members of our Coral Gables Police Department. This beautiful partnership is between a thoroughbred and an officer who has been saving horses since she was 15-years-old: Officer Ashley Sheran and police horse Rockaway.
You may recognize both from the cover of our March issue. I first encountered them patrolling directly in front of my home. Of course, I ran toward them for a quick greeting, carrot in hand. That is when I learned how Officer Sheran rescued Rockaway, then an emaciated former racehorse. “He was thinner, so rehab took longer, and you get attached,” she said. With the approval of Coral Gables Police Chief Ed Hudak in May 2019, Rockaway and Sheran became our first mounted police patrol in almost 100 years. I also learned that Rockaway turned 11 on March 18. Clearly, a birthday party was in order, so we invited horse and rider to join members of the Coral Gables Garden Club near their headquarters at the Biltmore Hotel. A cake was needed, so I ground up carrots, molasses, apples, and barley, and garnished it with lettuce and more apples (a carrot worked best for a candle). We sang happy birthday as Rockaway devoured it.
The horse’s temperament remained implacable as neighbors flocked toward him on bicycles, on foot and even with canes (the elderly). He let everyone pet him, a great lesson about the importance of community engagement. “He enjoys working and likes being around people,” said Officer Sheran.
For the future, Chief Hudak says he is looking into finding Rockaway an equine crime-fighting partner. If we are lucky next year, it will be a two-tiered cake!