The Toronto Blue Jays donated a horse to the TPS Mounted Unit this afternoon. The horse is aptly named – Blue Jay.
Blue Jay was picked out by Constable Harold Williamson, who is a senior trainer with the Mounted Unit. The eight-year-old Thoroughbred/Clydesdale cross has been in training with the unit for the last year and, according to Williamson, should be ready to perform his duties by the end of the year.
Blue Jay was presented to Chief Blair outside the Rogers Centre by Paul Beeston, CEO of the Blue Jays.
Beeston thanked the Chief for his service and said Blue Jay would now be a part of the Service and was donated in appreciation of the work the police does.
In accepting the horse the Chief thanked the Blue Jays not only for their gift but also for their partnership over the years with the Toronto Police Service along with providing great entertainment to the people of Toronto. Chief Blair added that Blue Jay would be a valuable part of the Mounted Unit and would be important in crowd control near the Rogers Centre.
“I look forward to bringing Blue Jay out to celebrations next year (at the Rogers Centre),” said the Chief good spiritedly to much laughter.
On a more serious note, the Chief said the horses of the Mounted Unit were as well trained as uniformed officers and that they go out and work in the community just as hard. “Our newest member will keep the city safe…we rely on them to be steady and calm and stable,” he added.
With the latest addition of Blue Jay, the Mounted Unit now has 26 horses. Blue Jay, who was alongside Honest Ed today, was said to be a great new addition to the team. “He is a great horse, full of energy and willing to work,” said Constable Amanda Petticrew of the Mounted Unit.
She added that Blue Jay worked well with Honest Ed, who has been on the job for many years, including participating in President Obama’s inauguration in 2008. “They are the same size, same colour and have the same attitude!” said Petticrew.
“He’s been good to me,” said Williamson who was the senior trainer for Blue Jay. Other newer trainee horses have thrown the Mounted Unit officer off at least twice, but not Blue Jay he added.
Blue Jay is the third donated horse on the Mounted Unit’s current team. The other two are ‘Moose’ who was donated by Brian Burke, when he was the General Manager for the Maple Leafs, and ‘Tracker’ who was gifted by the makers of the reality TV show ‘Mantracker’.