March 10. 2013 10:12PM

Manchester police: Jerry's excitable, but still a great horse for sale

New Hampshire Union Leader

Mounted Manchester police officer Scott Tardiff pets Jerry at the police stables in Manchester last week. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER - How do you tell a horse he's not cut out for police work?

Last week, the aldermen voted to allow the Manchester Police Department to move forward with selling Jerry, the 6-year-old gelding it purchased last August.

Jerry proved to be a little too excitable.

"There was the incident when he threw a rider at Veterans Park, but he also has not been responsive in the training ring," said Capt. Richard Reilly, who heads the department's Community Policing Division, of which the Mounted Unit is a part. "We can't have a horse so youthful and energetic. The safety of the officer and the public is paramount to all else."

Jerry will remain at the stables of the city's Youth Development Center on North River Road until a new home is found.

The departure of Jerry leaves only one horse in the Mounted Unit, Valor, who is 12.

Reilly said the department will be looking for a more seasoned horse like Valor.

"He's as calm and docile as can be. That's what we want, a horse that is responsive to the rider," he said.

So who would buy a rejected police horse?

Reilly said Jerry is a great horse, that he just has too much personality for police work.

"The horse has value in other forms, perhaps more in a pulling capacity rather than riding," he said.

Reilly said there's a "whole horse network" that he'll reach out to.

It appears police will move forward with purchasing a new horse sooner rather than later. In a request to the aldermen, Reilly wrote that the department intends to "purchase a new mount in the immediate future with the donated funds that remain in the account in combination with the proceeds generated by the sale of Jerry."

The department had purchased Jerry from a couple in Maine for $4,000 last August. He had passed a 30-day trial period.

The aldermen approved the police request without discussion last Tuesday.

In the past, the Mounted Unit has been a more controversial subject amid budget woes. In 2011, Mayor Ted Gatsas suggested that police no longer use the animals because of the expense associated with their upkeep and transport.

Most of the money for the program comes from an independent foundation established in 2004.