MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - After serving a decade with Minneapolis Police Mounted Patrol, the department is saying goodbye to one of their police horses, which recently passed away.
Twenty-five miles west of the busy city, sadness meets the countryside’s beauty at the Minneapolis Police Department’s horse barn.
“He was probably the bravest horse we have on the unit, he was fearless,” said Minneapolis Police Officer Aaron Morrison. “If he trusted his rider he would jump off the cliff for you. He was just one of those kind of horses.”
The Mounted Patrol Unit is now down to 11 horses.
On Sunday, Diego, the force's 21-year-old Tennessee Walker, was found hurt by another horse on the trail.
“Nobody saw the kick or who did it, but the vet said it was more than likely a kick,” nodded Morrison.
Officer Morrison, who worked with Diego for the last three years, rushed to the ranch.
“Diego’s leg was severely broken on his left leg above his knee,” he explained, fighting back emotions. “Our vet informed me that this was an injury he’d not be able to recover from.”
Diego needed to be put down.
“As he was dying, all the horses ran up to the gate and sat and watched like they knew what was going on,” Morrison shared.
In Diego’s final moments, Officer Morrison made sure the horse knew he was not alone.
“He laid down and I helped him with his head, laid his head down, put his head in my lap and just comforted him until he passed away,” he said.
Diego was laid to rest Sunday evening in a field on the ranch where he spent most of his time when he wasn’t on patrol.
“I can't believe he's gone,” said Morrison.
Even though Diego's stall will soon close for the very last time, his memory will remain mounted with dignity.
A special ceremony for Diego will be held in the spring.