Deaf HPD horse becomes friend to girls with intellectual disabilities

A Houston Police Mounted Patrol horse is getting by with a little help from his friends.

Smash, an American Paint horse, is the only deaf police horse in the country. He's also very special to a group of young women with intellectual disabilities.

"I learned about Smash when I came to the barn," said Katherine Richards, who helps care for Smash. "He has special needs."

"She thought that was really cool because she has special needs also," said HPD Mounted Patrol Officer Rebecca Dallas.

While volunteering at the HPD Mounted Patrol barn off Hwy. 59 and Little York, Katherine noticed Smash didn't have a sponsor sign like many other horses. She decided to team up with four of her friends to raise the money needed for Smash's care.

"I told my mom, you know what, let's make a team and let's call it the Smash Girls," said Katherine.

It costs about $5,000 to sponsor Smash for a year. During the first year, the Smash Girls raised double that amount through bake sales and other fundraisers.

It's a friendship so special, it's now the subject of a book. "Team Smash: Five Amazing Girls, One Amazing Horse" is the tale of how a one-time show horse overcame deafness to become one of HPD's finest, thanks to the Smash Girls. The book is sold by Amazon, Barnes & Noble and is available at every Houston Public Library branch. Some of the proceeds from the book go toward Smash's care.
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