Salisbury Beach, which was rather empty Friday after nearly a week of rain, can draw crowds of up to 10,000, McCann said.
On a hot Saturday several weeks ago, mounted troopers assisted on a medical call for a case of heat exhaustion and chest pain, and helped rescue a 9-year-old girl from the water after she suffered a seizure. Spotting people in the water or down the beach is a part of the job where being on horseback is a definite advantage.
“It’s a lot easier to see when you’re on the back of a horse,” McCann said. “You’re on a platform and you can see down the beach 100 yards, better than if you’re on foot. And people can see us a lot better than a guy on an ATV or on foot.”
Liz Samataro, of Methuen, was camping here with her family for the week on Friday and spent some of the bright, warm afternoon on the beach with her children. The kids were drawn to Scout as soon as they saw him.
“We’ve been coming up here for 10 years and they’re great,” she said of the troopers and horses. “They’re a great presence to have here. They’re friendly, and you know you’re safe. And the kids love them.”
Though they’re based in Acton, the horses are used around eastern Massachusetts often. They patrol festivals in Boston. They provide crowd control at the St. Patrick’s Day parade in South Boston and during Patriots games at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.
Linquata said the troopers patrol the parking lot while people tailgate before the game and make sure fans use the crosswalks on Route 1 after the game.
The mounted units are also used for special events like the Fourth of July event on the Esplinade in Boston. McCann and Linquata said the mounted unit plans a show of force this year, as much peace of mind as enforcement after the Boston Marathon bombing in April.