The Ocean City Police Department has welcomed a new horse onto the force. His name is Riptide, Rip for short. With no connection to the popular television series, Yellowstone, Rip was named for the very dangerous Ocean City rip current. “We hope to bring awareness to water safety. People love to see the horses out on the beach and we thought it would be a great way to pair community engagement and education.”
Rip is a 6 year old Percheron, who is allowed to work up to 7 days a week! However when the hot and steamy summer months approach, Ocean City patrons will only see him 3-5 days a week.
When asked if Riptide will have an actual work schedule like a person, the OCPD responded. “It all depends on the animal. A horse regresses from its training much faster than other animals. However, they have the second-best memory (first, elephants) of all animals and help them regain their skills very well. We try to ride in town as much as possible but sometimes we do remedial training.”
When Riptide isn’t working he gets to reside on a farm in Worcester County with the other equine members of the Mounting Unit, Benson, Moose, Storm and Major.
As Riptide gets older, the OCPD will continue to monitor him and his health to determine how long he can work on the force. “We really start to evaluate their health when they get closer to 20 years of age. But with Ripetide’s size, 19.2 hands high and 2,200lbs we will keep a closer eye on his health.”
To become a member of the Mounting Unit in Ocean City, horses and riders alike must attend rigorous training. “Only one in every ten horses are suited for this line of work. Horses selected for the unit go through two to three months of sensory obstacle training. This training progressively gets more intense throughout looking to ‘bomb proof’ the horse. The veteran horses are involved in this training to continue their training and also assist the new horse through their training. This training will continue throughout their career.”
If you’re old and about on the boardwalk this summer, feel free to stop and say hello to Riptide and congratulate him on his new position with the Ocean City Police Department. However, as with any working animal, please keep your distance and remember- you’re on vacation, but he’s still on the job.