They have a ceremonial role as well. Three horses marched at former Gov. Paul Cellucci’s funeral this month, one horse riderless with boots turned backwards in the stirrups.
And practically speaking, the horses travel better in the sand at beaches including Lynn, Nahant and Carson Beach in South Boston. And at Salsibury state park, they can easily cover all the terrains from the dunes to the campground to the parking lot and the streets.
The unit had been maintained with donated horses, typically from people who could not afford or could not keep them any more. A few were retired race horses. Several of the current younger horses, including Scout, were purchased as yearlings in Canada.
Emma Nett, 8, of West Boylston, patted Scout at the Salisbury Beach campground as her straw-blonde hair blew in the wind. Scout put his snout on her head like he wanted to chew on her hair, and then turned away, almost teasing.
“He likes blonde hair,” McCann said to her. “It’s his favorite flavor. He thinks it’s hay.”
Emma said she didn’t expect to see a trooper on horseback patrolling the campground. “But he was really friendly,” she said, not indicating whether she meant Scout or McCann.
Follow Douglas Moser on Twitter @EagleEyeMoser. To comment on stories and see what others are saying, log on to eagletribune.com.