‘Pony Up’ fundraiser will help to build home, supply food for Philly’s mounted patrol unit

In support of the Philadelphia Police Foundation, several horse riders will pony up this Sunday for a benefit walk that will help reestablish Philadelphia Police Department’s (PPD) Mounted Patrol Unit.

One of the riders is Cynthia Turecki, co-director of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Pennsylvania Equine Council. She will be riding her 17-year-old Kentucky Mountain Horse, Sonny.

The benefit walk is approximately 10 to 12 miles through the Wissahickon Valley with stops at popular locations like the Valley Green Inn and Cedars House. It will help the police department build a home, supply food and ultimately care for their mounted partners. 

“The Philadelphia Chapter of the Pennsylvania Equine Council wanted to help support this foundation and activity because it’s a great way to support the equine community and the city,” said Turecki. “Horses have been a part of our history forever and they should continue to be a part of our future.”

The plan calls for a $1.2 million stable to be built next to McCarthy Stables in Fairmount Park. 

The reestablishment of the mounted patrol unit will provide police with a higher vantage point than police on foot. It will give police opportunities to visit locations otherwise prohibited by the use of cars such as parks, businesses, sport venues and even neighborhoods. It is also used for security purposes, which was demonstrated during the summer’s flash mob incidents.

Turecki is very hopeful of the unit’s return to provide security, but she hopes the participants will enjoy the beauty and experience of the fundraiser.

“I would like the participants to see how beautiful the Wissahickon Valley is and how great a place it is to be dead smack in the middle of the city of Philadelphia,” said Turecki. “To ride and to hear everything that’s going on like water streaming down the creek and birds, you don’t even believe you’re in the middle of a city.”

So far, there is expected to be 40 to 50 horses participating in the walk aside from horses that belong to the three neighboring barns.

At least four of them will be from the Last Chance Ranch, a non-profit organization that rescues and rehabilitates horses, cats and dogs. It is the same organization that provided the PPD with some of the horses to kick off the mounted unit’s return.

The three-hour ride starts at 10 a.m. on Sunday at Courtesy Stable on East Cathedral Road. Tickets are $25 per rider. For additional information, visit Philadelphia Police Foundation’s website.

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