13-year-old boy donates horse to Columbus police

ST. MARY’S, West Virginia — Ben Wagstaff is just 13-years-old, but he already knows he wants to be a police officer when he grows up.

The St. Mary’s, West Virginia teen donated his horse to the Columbus Division of Police.

In a post on Facebook, the Columbus police called Wagstaff’s gesture “selfless.”

“Normally we’re looking for donations. We don’t have people coming to us saying, ‘Hey, we’ve got horses’,” Sgt. Bob Forsythe, Columbus Division of Police Mounted Unit, said in a video on the Facebook post.

According to the post, the teen emailed several police agencies in neighboring states to see if his 4-year-old horse, Sam, could be a police horse.

The Columbus police Mounted Unit said Wagstaff’s offer came at the perfect time. They had just retired two horses.

“I’m very proud of Ben,” said Jessica Owens-Wagstaff, Ben’s mother. “He’s raised him from a colt.”

“It was his goal that he could be more than just a farm horse,” Owens-Wagstaff said. “He’s finally getting to see one of his dreams come true.”

On Tuesday, members of the Mounted Unit went to West Virginia to pick up Sam.

“I’m happy and sad at the same time because he’s leaving,” Wagstaff said. “I know he’s going to be in good hands with the Columbus police.”

“He’s like part of my family. I love him,” Wagstaff said of Sam.

Sam had company on his ride to Columbus. Legend, a 4-legged member of the Mounted Unit, rode along with Sam to help him “get comfortable in the horse trailer.”

Forsythe said Sam will need about 6 to 12 months of training.

He’ll be one of 11 horses in the Mounted Unit.

Before they left, officers presented Wagstaff with a Mounted Unit t-shirt, a patch, and a “Challenge Coin.”

“You’re welcome to come up and see Sam anytime you want,” Forsythe told Wagstaff.

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