Narrator: These men make horseshoes
for the NYPD's mounted unit.
The NYPD's horses can't just trot into a store
and buy their own shoes.
First of all, they're horses. Second of all,
each horseshoe has to be custom-fit to each hoof.
So we're here at the Mounted Unit's headquarters
in Manhattan to meet the men who are making sure
these horses are ready to patrol the streets.
- I'm one of the blacksmiths for the Mounted Unit.
Narrator: Three farriers are responsible
for all 240 hooves belonging to New York's finest horses.
These guys are all hoof, the whole hoof,
and nothing but the hoof, so help me God.
- Well, there's an old saying
that goes back to the first days of horseback riding.
No hoof, no horse.
Narrator: They spent decades between them
honing their craft.
- It took close to seven, eight years.
You just can't go and nail a shoe on a horse.
You learn the anatomy and there's so much to learn.
For the rest of our lives, we'll always be learning.
A horse can't speak to you, so we got to figure it out.
Narrator: Each horse down to each individual hoof has
specific needs when it comes to footwear, including size,
shape, age, sensitivity, and gait of the horse.
And the type of terrain the horse walks on
also takes a toll on the shoe.
- The pavement, we have asphalt,
we've got the white lines,
which you'd be surprised are slippy, cobblestones,
sidewalks, the steel plates, the grids on the streets,
the manhole covers. It's like a minefield sometimes.
Narrator: About half the NYPD's horses are housed in
the Mounted Unit's Manhattan headquarters.
The horses live in a luxury building called
the Mercedes House, which is home to
an actual Mercedes dealership
and a nicer building than I will ever live in.
Narrator: And even though the horses have a commute
most New Yorkers only dream of,
sometimes it's still necessary to bring the farriers
to them in two mobile blacksmithing units.
- Just a loose shoe, twisted shoe,
the horse is a little bit off -
there's always something little that we have to fix.
That's why we have these vans
so we can fix them on the flight.
We can go anywhere they need us.
- They know the horses, the horses know them.
And it's just a good relationship.
They're larger horses, 1,300-to-1,700-pound horses
that they're working with their feet in and around them.
So it could be very dangerous if the horse isn't going to
stand for a shoeing.
So the farrier has to be very patient.
- The horses are considered members
of the force as well.
So we're not just going to hire anybody.
Narrator: But why does the NYPD still use horses anyway?
Well, their height makes them great for crowd control,
counterterrorism, and traffic control.
But the first thing CEO Barry told me?
- The horse is an excellent ambassador for the department
that brings people together.
Most people enjoy horses.
They like talking about them, petting them.
Some people have never seen a horse before
or actually touched or pet a horse,
and it's a very exciting event for them.
- Do you have a favorite horse?
- I don't say that I have a favorite horse.
They're all my favorite horses because we are responsible
for their care and well-being.
So, you don't want to single one horse out
and say that this is your favorite.
- You're a good dad.