FORT WORTH, Texas –– While off duty earlier this week, Fort Worth police mounted patrol Officer Clint Hall wore jeans and a ball cap as he gently brushed his dark brown Cleveland Bay named Scooter.
Sometimes, a brush with the law can be just what the doctor ordered.
"Scooter, being with him, seeing him, it's very therapeutic. Very therapeutic,” Hall said. “Kind of takes your mind off everything."
Hall and Scooter are a team. They work mounted patrol in the Stockyards. Or, they did.
In May, a golf ball sized tumor on Hall's neck knocked him out of the saddle.
"Surgically had to remove the cancer then it had spread to my tonsils,” Hall says, pausing often to clear his raspy voice with water. “Had to take out tonsils and tonsil beds, back of my tongue."
He's had chemo and radiation. His only nourishment comes through a feeding tube in his stomach. But as soon as he was able, Hall began showing up back at the mounted patrol barn to groom Scooter.
When asked to describe his feelings about his mounted partner, Hall begins but he can’t finish his thoughts. However, there was nothing to say that couldn't be seen: The horse nudged Hall’s neck then rested his head on the officer’s shoulder.
"Scooter is by far my favorite horse. He and I have been through a lot,” Hall finally says. "I've kind of created a monster, though. He can be too affectionate at times."
In fact, the horse is so friendly, even some criminals can't resist him.
"We've actually made a few arrests as a result of people wanting to pet him," he laughs.
Police medical insurance is good, Hall said, but bills still add up. So fellow officers will throw a benefit for him at 5 p.m. Sunday at the River Ranch in the Stockyards at 500 Northeast 23rd St. A $50 cover charge gets dinner, live music and casino tables.
"Not just police officers: Everyone is welcome," said Officer Shelby Meza.
Meza rides alongside Clint Hall and Scooter in the Stockyards. She wants them back on the street, which will happen Monday morning. Ofc. Hall will still have a feeding tube button beneath his protective vest.
“I’ll be back in the saddle,” he said, smiling. “Not only do I have the best job in the police department, I have the best job in the city. I get paid to ride a horse.”
Tickets to the benefit are available online at this link.