Smash and the Smash girls prove they can ‘make it anywhere,’ especially when a special book receives recognition in New York

Tom Kennedy

If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. And the latest is that Smash, the celebrated

HPD Mounted Patrol horse, has made it in New York, New York.

So, too, have the equally notable “Smash Girls,” who with this great steed are the subject of a

non-fiction book that now can be found not only on Amazon and on the Barnes and Nobel website, but also

in every City of Houston library.

Entitled Team Smash, Five Amazing Girls, One Amazing Horse, by Artemis Greenleaf, this

new book recently won what is known as a Winnie Award, presented by the Equus Film Festival

in New York City.

Briefly stated, the festival’s purpose is “to highlight and award the diverse and creative efforts

of those who artistically pay homage to the horse.”

Katherine Richards, one of the five Smash Girls, received the award on behalf of author

Greenleaf in the special awards ceremony. She was accompanied by her parents, Don and Kim

Richards, as well as HPD Mounted Patrol Sgt. Leslie Wills.

Kim Richards said, “The festival lasted over three days and drew authors and filmmakers from all over the world. It was a really awesome experience. Leslie and Katherine accepted the award on behalf of Artemis Greenleaf. Katherine was the only Smash girl present. She thanked everybody and had tears in her eyes.”

The book’s winning category was non-fiction children’s literature. Mrs. Richards left the Badge

& Gun with the impression that there was no real competition, for the story of Smash, the

department’s only deaf Mounted Patrol horse, and the five special needs girls who provide him

with almost constant grooming and “spoiling.”

A few years ago the girls became acquainted with this special horse and worked hard to raise

the $5,000 necessary to sponsor him for Mounted Patrol. Their undying efforts drew positive

attention from horse fanciers and policing advocates throughout the Greater Houston area.

Another of the girls, Christi Roberts, had written Mayor Sylvester Turner earlier this year,

urging him to put the Smash Girls book in every City of Houston library.

“The mayor made sure the city bought 100 books for that purpose,” Kim Richards said. The

official notification of the new book in the library was highlighted in a special ceremony

involving the mayor and the Smash Girls.

Christi was poised and impressive in her speech before Mayor Turner at City Hall.

“I am the Smash Girl who wrote to you requesting Team Smash books be available

in the Houston Public Library,” she said. “I would like to thank you for honoring my

request and making available Team Smash to all of the citizens of Houston.

“Due to your efforts every Houstonian will have access to this inspiring book.

Mayor Turner, your commitment to helping our community, libraries and police have

made a tremendous difference in this great city that we live in. Thank you for all that

you do.”

Mrs. Richards reported that these recent events have resulted in the sale of at least

500 books.

She wasn’t reluctant to issue a reminder that the book would make a perfect

Christmas gift. At $14.99, it is available for purchase on Amazon or at Barnes and


Team Smash tells the story of five special girls who lovingly tend to a very special

police horse within the environs of a nationally trend-setting Mounted Patrol force in

the nation’s fifth-largest police force.

Mrs. Richards pointed out that the Smash story also caught the attention of New York City’s

mounted patrol. Several NYC mounted patrol officers appeared with Katherine and Sgt. Wills at

the ceremony.

They also saw to it that Smash and his girls would receive further recognition.

“When you enter the mounted patrol barn in New York,” Richards explained, “there is this

beautiful wooden case to the right. It was made by officers and contains all kinds of mounted patrol

memorabilia. They will be putting a copy of Team Smash in the case for everyone to see.

“That was really special. They planned to do it in the next couple of weeks.”

The next edition of the book will have a cover sticker that describes it as a winner of an Equus

Award – further recognition of a great Houston horse story.