Anyone who has spent a lot of time within Stanley Park wandering its many scenic areas will surely have seen at some point one of its most endearing and magnificent sights, that of the Vancouver Police Mounted Squad patrolling on their beautiful horses.
Having seen them on a number of occasions, we knew we had to include them in some way in our film. Many people we have talked to who are born-and-raised Vancouverites had no idea the Mounted Squad even existed and that made up our mind that we should set aside a feature for them in our documentary.
Permission was granted through the Vancouver Police media relations and I found myself in direct contact with the Sergeant in charge of the unit, Doug McMillan. After a few emails back and forth we arranged our first visit to the paddocks and our first encounter with these glorious animals and the wonderful officers that work with them every day.
It is a humbling and a rather moving experience to be up close to these gentle creatures and we can only imagine how the officers and staff must feel to be able to spend time with them each day.
VPD Sergeant Doug McMillan
Our time down at the paddock has been joyful in every moment and has to be one of the most beautiful experiences so far in this adventure of ours. Every person we met treated us with such kindness and went out of their way to help in any way they could.
We first interviewed Doug who gave us a great insight to the history of the unit, how it’s run on a daily basis and the work that they do. The second of the three interviews we did there was with Conrad and his horse Gunner. He gave us an extremely detailed interview about the horses and how they are trained for police work and the challenges involved in certain situations. The last interview was with Susan Sharp and her horse Duke. Luckily, the sun decided to shine and she suggested the rose garden as a location for the interview. Susan talked about the bond the officers have for their horse and how fortunate she feels to be patrolling Stanley Park.
VPD Conrad and his horse Gunner
Of course, they all talked about many other aspects of the unit, too many to list here but they all gave a very interesting and unique take on this wonderful and important job they do.
This feature would never be complete without filming the officers and horses riding through the park and after Susan’s interview she asked two other officers, Des Sparrow and Rich Horner to help out with some shots down at the totem poles, which was a wonderful backdrop. After filming them, Conrad and Susan met with us down at Third Beach, which made for some beautiful shots.
VPD Susan and her horse Duke
We are extremely grateful that they were all so willing to go to these locations without a moment’s hesitation and I really cannot thank them all enough for being so helpful and so generous with their time.
We would like to thank Doug for allowing us to come down and film in the first place and for giving us the freedom to film whenever and wherever we wanted. It was truly a privilege and we thank all the officers and staff of the mounted squad, you made us feel so welcome.
And thanks again to everyone for keeping up with our blogs, it’s a real pleasure to be able to share all these experiences with you. Keep smiling!
Vancouver Police Mounted Squad at the Totem poles