Say ‘nay’ to Spring Jam’s horses

Mounted patrols are an effective form of crowd control, but Spring Jam’s crowd isn’t right for horses.

by Maddie Eaton

On Saturday, the streets of Dinkytown were crowded with people and cars. However, if you took a closer look, you also saw mounted patrol officers scattered throughout the chaos.
As the owner of multiple horses, I spend a lot of time around these animals. Believe me: on such a busy night, police would have been better off without them.
Mounted patrols can part crowds more effectively than officers on foot, but Spring Jam didn’t need them. There were already plenty of police officers in squad cars or on foot. 
While the horses in mounted patrol programs are incredibly well-trained and quiet animals, the bottom line is that they’re fight-or-flight animals. If a horse feels its life is in danger, it will react in a negative manner, no matter how well-trained it is. 
Making matters worse, an average horse weighs about 1,000 pounds. These animals can injure someone if they start to panic. In a crowd full of students just looking to have a fun weekend, that’s too big a risk to take. 
Horses are also messy animals that leave manure everywhere. This should frustrate city dwellers, as the streets were freshly swept not long before Spring Jam.
Finally, it isn’t fair to make horses stand on hard pavement for long periods of time. Concussive, firm ground is tough on the animals’ joints.
Spring Jam was no place for horses. The decision to use them could have put people in danger, made a mess and hurt the animals. When next year’s celebrations come around, I hope to see you there — but I hope not to see any horses. 
Maddie Eaton welcomes comments at [email protected].