An enormous palomino police horse has received a prestigious US award for his service.
Dino, or “Big D”, a 16-year-old draft cross named in honor of fallen officer Forrest Edward “Dino” Taylor, and his rider, Sergeant Russell Robar, leader of the Baltimore Police Mounted Unit, have received the Klinger Perpetual Award for their work.
Presented by the Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) and sponsored by the Equus Foundation and the Stephens Family, the award was presented in the center ring during the annual WIHS Military Night.
The WIHS Klinger Perpetual Award for Honor & Service is presented annually to a horse, individual, or organization that best demonstrates the values of honor and service as embodied by Klinger, a special horse who has touched the lives of many in his life of service with the 3rd US Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) Caisson Platoon.
“Big D is wonderful example of a horse who found a meaningful second career. Big D pulled farm wagons and plows before joining the urban Baltimore Police Mounted Unit as a peacekeeper. It is an honor to recognize Big D’s big-hearted public service and Sergeant Robar,” said Denise Quirk, Chair of the Equus Foundation Horse Welfare Advisory Group.
Big D and most of the unit’s horses came from Amish farms and were retired after years of pulling plows and farm wagons. They are well suited for the routine patrols of city streets and their crowd control duties. Big D and the seven other equine members of the unit also serve as a model to teach Baltimore youth about the value of public service. “Dino’s our alpha lead horse and a no-nonsense workhorse,” Robar said.
Baltimore’s mounted police unit has helped keep the city’s peace since 1886. As the unit’s leader, Sergeant Robar makes sure the unit continues to serve as a positive and efficient force in Maryland while maintaining its recognition as the oldest continually operated unit in the United States. The pair leads the unit in more than 170 community and service events each year.
“The children on the Amish farms would be climbing all over them. They’re used to people.”
Big D and Sergeant Robar receive a $750 grant from the Equus Foundation matched by a $750 donation from The Stephens Family. It will go towards a new $2.5 million equestrian facility for the Baltimore Police Mounted Uniton the property of the B&O Railroad Museum.
The Klinger award is named in honor of a military horse who has touched the lives of many people in his life of service with the 3rd US Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) Caisson Platoon.
Among his duties, Klinger has served as the official Escort to the US president and as a member of the nation’s premier Memorial Affairs and Ceremonial Unit. Klinger has also worked with wounded veterans and been a comfort to the children of TAPS members.
Unlike most other horses, Klinger has had an award-winning children’s book written about him. He also participates in community service events throughout the National Capitol Region, including appearing for the past three years as the guest of honor at the Washington International Horse Show Kids’ Day.
Klinger was inducted into The Horse Stars Hall of Fame in 2014.