There’s just one requirement to join Pasco Sheriff’s Mounted Posse.
Volunteers need to have a little giddyup.
Well, actually there is more to it than that.
Posse volunteers provide security, as well as entertainment, during various events throughout Pasco County. They also engage in community relations, crime prevention, search and rescue, and even fundraising.
“It is a really expensive hobby,” said Deputy Cliff Williams, the sworn officer who works with the volunteer group.
“But a lot of volunteers come out and it is needed — as the (Pasco) Sheriff’s Office is always looking for volunteers,” he added. “We do public events, fairs, festivals — and we get a better sight advantage from up higher. These volunteers, they work hard, and we have a great group of people.”
Indeed, volunteers for the posse must meet certain criteria. They must pass a background check, must own a horse, must be able to transport the horse, and, of course, must know how to ride and to tack.
Beyond that, being part of the posse requires training.
Once they have all of that, they’re ready to saddle up — using their own equipment — for an upcoming festival or fair.
“A lot of work — safety is a huge thing, so there’s a lot of training and tactics to prepare ourselves for — lots of behind the scenes stuff, too,” said Dani McGinity, a Dade City resident who has been president of the posse since 2019. “There’s care for the horse, hay, the trailer — you put a lot of money into that — the fuel, feeding them, cleaning them. … You have to enjoy doing this, and if our volunteers are putting in that much effort to be here, it has to be fun and rewarding in some way.
“And it is! It is absolutely fun — not just the attention we get, but the fun part is, for example, during COVID, with everything shut down, we went to an assisted living facility. When those people saw us walking around with our horses, the smiles on their faces, the cheering, that makes it fun,” she said.
Williams agreed: “These horses bring a lot of joy to people’s lives who might not get it elsewhere.
“(My) favorite part is kids, or even adults, who get to see the horse — maybe for the first time. I think having police officers (at events) in uniform can be intimidating, but having us there with horses makes it easier to approach, ask questions, pet the horse and really get to enjoy us volunteering at an event.”
McGinity added: “We’re one of the biggest attractions wherever we go because it’s always, ‘Hey, there’s a horse!’ and we definitely can’t say we don’t like that!”
So, besides a horse, equipment and riding skills, what else does it take to join this posse? Well, it basically comes down to the love of volunteering.
And the love of a horse, of course.
“(This is) something I had been wanting to do for a very long time,” the newest member of the posse, Dani Judge, said. “I have some really good friends in the posse and it combines my favorite things: volunteering and horses.
“Being a horse lover and being able to give back to the community, it doesn’t get any better than that,” she said.
Pasco Sheriff’s Mounted Posse
Info: Anyone with a horse, transportation for it and the desire to do plenty of volunteer work can join the Mounted Posse. However, there are several requirements, which can be viewed in the brochure, at PascoSheriffCharities.org, by clicking on “Pasco Posse.”
To apply for the Mounted Posse, visit PascoSheriffCharities.org/events/apply.
To schedule the Mounted Posse for an event, visit PascoSheriff.com/schedule-pso/.
Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Mounted Posse
There also is a Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Mounted Posse, which works many events in Lutz, New Tampa, Carrollwood and beyond.
Info: Visit Facebook.com/Hillsborough-County-Sheriffs-Mounted-Posse-190756680934944, or email .
Published August 03, 2022