SANTA ANA, Calif. –The Santa Ana Police Department lost a veteran police mount. SAPD Mounted Unit announced the death of one of its most experienced horses, Zeus, a 21-year old American Quarter Horse. Zeus died Wednesday, while he was attending training with the Orange County Regional Mounted Unit in the city of Norco. At this time, cause of death is unknown.

Veteran police mount

veteran police mount

SAPD Police Mount Zeus with his game face on.

Zeus joined SAPD’s mounted ranks in 2007 and has participated in most of the large scale events in Santa Ana and across Orange County over the last ten years. Zeus was Mounted Unit’s Sgt. Kanan Blake’s horse. They were often seen patrolling the downtown streets and parks, as well as demonstrations, festivals, concerts and crime suppression details across the city and county. Zeus also had his softer side, appearing at many schools and community events over the years.

The loss of Zeus is substantial to the Mounted Unit. To be a qualified police horse takes special qualities and extensive training. They are an effective crime fighting tool in crowd situations where one horse team can replace many officers. Their mere presence can keep order amid impending disorder.

veteran police mount

SAPD Police Mount Zeus during a lighter moment.

Rider comments

Sgt. Blake told Law Enforcement Today the death is especially difficult. Veteran police mount Zeus was not only his partner, but his personal horse as riders are required to make their own purchase. While the cause of death is unknown, the vet has speculated a heart attack or perhaps a stroke. However, the proximate cause is unconfirmed.

Blake said they have never had a horse suffer an on-duty death, so the circumstances are unique. As you can imagine, he has received an outpouring of support from well-wishers, which he appreciates.

(Photos courtesy Sgt. Kanan Blake)

Veteran Police Mount Dies During Training