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Horsing around: Manchester students name police horse
Officers Marc Lachance, left, and Scott Tardiff stand with the Manchester Police Department's newest horse, General John Stark, on Tuesday at Smyth Road Elementary School. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)
"It smells like flowers, doesn't it?" asked Officer Scott Tardiff of the Manchester Police Department's Mounted Unit.
"Noooooooo," the children said in unison.
A shovel and a bucket took care of the horse manure and the "ewws" from the fourth-grade students in Mrs. Joleen Stephens' class quickly went to cheers when police Chief David Mara told them they won the contest to rename Clyde, the department's newly acquired 7-year-old gelding.
The police department held a citywide contest giving children in kindergarten through fifth grade a chance at renaming the horse. Herlicka Financial Group, LLC purchased the naming rights for $2,500 and then turned them over to the city's school children.
He didn't tell them that the young excitable horse threw a rider in Veterans Park, was pink slipped and sold to a family in Ohio where he is now a pulling horse.
Mara shook hands with the children as he presented each with a certificate. They were then allowed to get up close and personal with The General, who stood quietly as the children gathered around and petted him.
Tardiff said The General eats 30 pounds of hay a day and a couple of cups of grain. His favorite food is grass, however, and when he is especially good he is treated with a carrot or apple. And, because he is on pavement a lot, he goes through shoes every six weeks.
The fourth-graders came up with the name while studying New Hampshire history.
A statue of Stark riding a horse is featured in a North End park named for him.
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