XENIA — Five members of the Greene County Mounted Search and Rescue Team took part in training and team competitions at the Mounted Police Colloquium in Lexington, Kentucky, last week and were looking forward to bringing home “the gold.”
The team did not disappoint — Jennifer Durbin placed fifth in western equitation and Jillian Hughes placed second in western equitation, eighth in obstacles, and second in “overall rider and horse.”
“Gene Fischer started this unit in 2005,” Durbin said. “Last year, we finished first, second, and third but Gene never got to celebrate with us. He died the week we were out of town competing.”
Other members of the Mounted Search and Rescue Team include Jillian Hughes (and her quarter horse Lucky); Carol Bowman (and her American paint horse Pete), Gretchen Esch (and her American paint horse Piper), and Cindy Gould (and her quarter horse Littleman).
“Our unit is very competitive and able,” said Hughes, who added members Georgia Williams and Karen Moore accompanied the team to Lexington to provide support and help with the horses.
Added Durbin: “It’s intense, but it’s great. We’re learning about crime prevention, tracking, etc., and we get to gather and talk about our love of horses.”
Competition included a set of 10 obstacles that the riders asked their horses to do and then they were scored on how well each horse did.
The team trained with groups from Toronto, Milwaukee, Cape May, Louisville, Lexington, Kent County Michigan, Cumberland Valley Search and Rescue, and more.
Team members said they enjoyed the experience and discussed how it all went before their drive back to Ohio Sept. 17.
“We’re very pleased on how things went. We learned a ton, rode a ton, and enjoyed meeting other units from all over the county,” Hughes said. “And we broke a world record while we were there. The largest mounted drill team musical, we participated in it.”
A five-day event like the Mounted Police Colloquium, can run $1,000 or more and members pay out of pocket without reimbursement.
“It can be a little pricey but it’s a great thing to be a part of,” Durbin said.
Members say it’s worth the expense to be part of a team that represents a fantastic tool and resource to the community.
The Sheriff’s Office appreciates all they do.
“They’ve been helping us for several years now. We’re very proud of them. They receive top-notch training and bring it back,” said Greene County Sheriff Scott Anger. “They help with community outreach and parades and they’re always ready when needed. At these events, they get to be around national and international teams and they learn a lot. We’re very lucky to have them.”
Members suggested for those wishing to learn more about the team, to reach out to them on their Facebook page. Donations can be given by contacting Greene Giving and asking to donate directly to the organization.
For those wishing to become part of the team, Durbin suggested there are certain requirements to meet: Be a Greene County resident; have a capable horse; own a truck and a horse trailer; pass a background check, and be able to become a sworn deputy.