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Sheriff’s mounted unit saddles up for Rose Parade

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Mounted Enforcement Unit will participate at the annual Tournament of Roses in Pasadena.

The 13-deputy rider unit was one of three law enforcement equestrian groups chosen after a competitive selection process for the Rose Parade. The parade’s theme is “Echoes of Success.”

“We are very excited to be riding in the 2017 Rose Parade. It is an honor to be able to represent the men and women of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office. Our unit enjoys great support from the community and from within, and sharing those stories of success is what this year’s parade theme is all about,” said Lt. Erik Raney who oversees the mounted unit.

The Rose Parade may still be nearly two months away, but the Santa Barbara County’s Mounted Enforcement Unit is already working on building their horses’ endurance.

The parade is longer than the officers typically ride their horses for and there will be more sensory distractions than the horses are used to. The officers plan on doing everything they can to prepare because for many on this team, these horses are like family.

“[My horse] is Wickett – she’s about 16, I’ve had her since she was about two. I bought her site unseen, I was living in South Carolina at the time and a friend said “Hey there’s a really good one” and I said “Well since you’re telling me, okay” – and she’s been awesome.. she still is,” says Deputy Tracee Walker.

“There’s nothing better than doing law enforcement work on horseback,” Raney says.

The Sheriff’s Mounted Enforcement Unit has been an important part of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department for 27 years. The unit has assisted with crowd control, search and rescue, and rural law enforcement.

The Tournament of Roses is held in Pasadena every year, and will begin at 8 a.m., Monday, January 2, 2017. It will be televised nationally.

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