Police officer places in Top 10 at national competition
HAMBURG, N.Y. — Cpl. Ashleigh Beck-McGrath, 35, of Stevensville, a seven-year member of the Maryland National Capitol Park Police Mounted Unit of Prince George’s County, placed in the Top 10 in the Expert Equitation class at the national national mounted police competition held in Hamburg, New York, in October. The Expert class is for advanced, veteran mounted police officers. The competition was hosted by the North American Police Equestrian Council, which was founded in 1983 to promote such competitions among mounted officers from across the country. Fifty mounted officers from the U.S. and Canada competed in this year’s event. Beck-McGrath was the only officer from the Prince George’s County mounted unit to compete in the Expert division.
The other officers from the Prince George’s unit competed in the Novice Mounted competitions, all of them doing placing high. Lt. Bryson Evans, commander of the Mounted Unit in Prince George’s County, based in Mitchellville, was proud to announce the placings of all the officers.
Ofc.John Finnerin, with his horse “Nate”, placed first in the Novice Equitation class. Pfc. David “D.J.” Brown, with his horse “Duke”, placed third in Novice Equitation. Cpl. Jason Miller, with his horse “Shadow”, placed fifth in Novice Equitation, and Officer Zach Mitzhewich, with his horse “Charger”, placed seventh in Novice Equitation. The group also competed in Combined Obstacle and Equitation classes, also placing well.
In the Obstacle class the horse and rider are asked to test their skills against items one might find “on the street” rather than a traditional “trail ride” class at horse shows. Some of the obstacles in Hamburg, N.Y., included having the horse stand still and not react to a jackhammer being used close by, a cement mixer that was making a lot of noise, and a moving van rear door quickly being pulled up and then quickly pulled down (with the hope the horse world remain calm). Those were not all the obstacles.
In the riding divisions, the officers were scored in three different categories: Equitation, Obstacles, and and combined score of Equitation and Obstacles.
The entire Prince George’s Mounted Unit placed fourth overall in the uniform competition. For this competition, the horse, tack, and officer’s uniform and appearance is judged.
Beck-McGrath has lived on Kent Island for almost a decade. She is an 11-year veteran of the MNCPP, joining the mounted unit a little over seven years ago.
Asked about her equestrian background, BeckMcGrath said, “When I was 10, my aunt signed me up for riding lessons where we previously lived in Prince George’s County. I stayed with it for awhile until we started jumping horses. I soon fell off and that was it, I was done.”
As an adult, she graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in criminal justice and found a job with MNCPP. The opportunity presented itself for her to become a mounted police officer. She participated in a 10-week training class provided by veteran mounted police officers and soon became part of the mounted police unit.
Cpl. Asheigh Beck-McGrath of the Maryland-National Capitol Park Mounted Police Uni, rides her Draft-mixed horse “Blaze” during the 2018 North American Police Equestrian Council championships. Beck-McGrath, a Stevensville resident, placed in the Top 10 of the Expert class at the competition.