US Border Patrol uses horses to secure Mexican border

Erin Siegal

"Immigration enforcement and drug smuggling continue to be top priorities for the Department of Homeland Security, and the Border Patrol's budget has swelled accordingly, increasing from just $262,647 in 1990 to over $3.5 million dollars in the 2012 fiscal year," reports photojournalist Erin Siegal of ABC/Univision, in Mexico.

"They've added more agents, more technology, and higher fences.

But they've also got horses. "Coyotes" (human-smugglers) and narcotraffickers have moved further into mountain and desert terrain, in response to law enforcement's more aggressive patrolling of urban areas. And in remote areas, horses help.

Read the full essay (with photos) here. [ABC News]


  1. I’m honestly a trifle surprised that they managed to get horses, rather than involuntarily beta-testing some hotshot contractor’s ‘Hostile Terrain Tactical Mobility System’…

  2. The overseer had the right to get ill
    And if you fought back, the overseer had the right to kill

    The officer has the right to arrest
    And if you fight back they put a hole in your chest
    Woop, they both ride horses
    After 400 years, I’ve got no choices

  3. I’m a little confused as to why this is a point of interest? What is the commentary here? Horses are used in conjunction with law enforcement all of the time. I had to cross behind a huge horse in the crosswalk yesterday on my way home in Seattle. Is there some sort of context that I’m missing out on? Horses aren’t irrelevant…

    1. ‘HORSIES!’

      I like to imagine that thats the point of interest, id like to see Xeni slowly turn into my mom, posting pictures of horsies and puppies with little pieces of poetry superimposed over them

    2. See, I was thinking the opposite – that the post was drawing attention to the Border Patrol’s laughably primitive use of horses.  Which would be silly, if the horses are actually the best tool for the job.  And in Afghanistan, our forces think horses beat the Hostile Terrain Tactical Mobility System hands down.

      1. Horses ARE a good resource though? They’re adaptable to a lot of terrain, fast and nimble, imposing and fairly easy to figure out when something goes wrong. They’re expensive but they have advantages over mechanical things in certain situations by far.

        1. … and when they go kaputt you can use them for a decent BBQ – except when you’re british.

  4. I don’t get this post. The BP has used horses since its creation:

    “When the Border Patrol formally began on May 28, 1924, mounted patrols were implemented immediately. A Horse Patrol unit has existed in San Diego since 1979.”


    So…..they use horses. They have been using horses. And….?

    Having lived in the Texas-Mexico border all my life, I’ve seen the mounted patrols. …shrug….

  5. @facebook-782935460:disqus No doubt about the numbers being off. I interned with the USBP (Tucson Sector HQ) in the early 90s, and I’m pretty sure they budgeted more than $262K just for I.T.  In fact, the number needs another brace of 3 zeros… $262,647,000 in 1990.

  6. Government travel regs still have provisions for renting a horse or mule for travel if needed.

    Border Patrol has always used horses.  They are quiet and can go places no powered vehicle can manage and can forage locally which few internal combustion engines can do.

    It’s a lonely and dangerous job as our friends south of the border are often quite violent when discovered sneaking drugs or people into the country. 

    And the locals too sometimes, since they aren’t always innocent bystanders in the drug and slave trafficking.

    1. Exactly.

      Horses have always been used by law enforcement to patrol terrain where vehicles can’t go.  Camp Smith, in Hawaii, has had mounted military police patrols (pot growers love them mountain gorges).for years.

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