A quarter horse that served 18 years with the Omaha Police Department’s mounted patrol was remembered Monday as an animal that was always ready to round up rowdy crowds but was ever so gentle with children.
Seans Jet Man died Saturday in Bennington of natural causes at age 35. Born in Hastings in 1984, Sean was bred for quarter horse racing by Dr. John Yost, according to Omaha police.
Yost discovered that the horse “would rather give his grandkids rides than put his heart into running on the track.” In 1992, Yost donated Sean to Omaha’s mounted patrol, which had been started in 1989.
Over the years, police said, Sean worked the streets, first with Officer Gary Shields and later with Officers Cari Hughes and Dave Volenec.
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Sean readily helped with crowd control but also could stand stock still while “hundreds of kids would walk around and under him, hugging his legs.” He was a favorite at school visits with Hughes, police said.
Sean was one of four Omaha police horses at President Bill Clinton’s second inauguration in 1997. More poignantly, Sean was chosen to lead the funeral parades for Officer Jimmy Wilson and Sgt. Jason “Tye” Pratt.
Sean, who outlived Shields and Hughes, had earlier brushes with death.
Sean battled severe colic as a young horse and should not have survived, police said. Late in his career, he suffered a broken leg when he was kicked by another horse, but he came back to the job.
Sean finally retired in 2010. Three years later, he moved to Bennington, where he was pampered by Bonnie and Barry Keller.
When he died in his barn just two months shy of 36, police said, he was surrounded by Bonnie Keller, retired Police Sgt. Deb Campbell and “his critter friends.”