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LAPD Veteran Retiring After 18 Years Of Service Won't Be Horsing Around

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Cowboy, LAPD's star mounted platoon horse, has retired from the force after 18 years on the job. The department veteran racked up an impressive resume that included fighting crime in some of LA's most dangerous areas, and serving on the security details of visiting U.S. presidents.

NBC LA says that the 18-year veteran joined the force bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at the age of 3 (that would be 18 in human years). Cowboy carried officers through high crime areas in Venice Beach, Hollywood and Skid Row, and worked traffic and crowd control, reports CBS L.A. Because of his positive, encouraging attitude, and endless patience, Cowboy was often chosen to work with the new additions to his unit. LAPD officer Joe Willey, head trainer for the department, has worked with Cowboy for two decades.

"This horse has participated in the training of every policeman who's been here since he's been here," said Wiley. "He can really take the credit as a key player in the development of the riders' skills as they use those skills out in the field."

But the mean streets of Los Angeles are hostile to horses, even those as tough as Cowboy. The combination of pavement and hectic traffic can be wearing, especially for an older horse (if you're keeping track of Cowboy's age, he'd now be in his sixties...so, close enough to retirement age for us).

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"It's a sad day," said Wiley. "He's been an integral part of our program."

The LAPD shows much love for their noble steeds; there's an entire sectionof their website dedicated to their horses, (who've never once asked for special recognition for their service, by the way).

But don't expect Cowboy to cash in his retirement on a condo in Florida; he'll be working for the Pasadena-based Move A Child Higher, Inc., which provides horseback riding activities to children with disabilities.

Thank you for your service, Cowboy. Maybe now that Cowboy has a little more free time, he can meet up with Betsy, downtown for a cocktail.