As the Rwandan Defence Force Army Band left the arena through the gap next to Stand D, the SAPS Mounted Unit, which had assembled on the opposite side, next to Stand A, trotted into the light.
Led by Lt-Colonel JCH Steyn on Anzu, the sixteen riders and their neatly turned-out and powerful steeds were a beautiful sight: Dark bays, light bays, chestnuts, and one grey horse, all the horses had been groomed until their coats were glossy. The leather of their tack had been polished to a shine, and their legs were fitted with tendon boots, the white standing out starkly against the dark legs. The blue saddle blankets with their yellow borders identified them clearly as part of the South African Police Services. All the riders were dressed identically in smart dark-blue uniforms, wearing knee-high black boots with silvery spurs, and white helmets.
The Western Cape mounted unit is only a couple of years old, dating back to December 2007, when it was formed as part of a pilot study. This must have been very successful, because, a couple of months later on 1 April 2008, the Western Cape Mounted Unit was officially commissioned. It currently consists of 27 horses and 30 members.
The horses are stabled on a piece of open ground off Military Road in Tamboerskloof, and are deployed every day to various areas of the city, wherever mounted patrols are needed. They are trained to withstand the stresses of working in crowds and on busy city streets, and to remain calm when exposed to loud noises or bright lights. Such a visible police presence deters criminal activity, and they do an excellent job controlling crowds.
The music for their act was provided by the SAPS band.