PORTLAND, Ore. -- Keep your horse off the sidewalks, protesters shouted during a confrontation with Police in downtown Portland.

The clash was constant. As the Portland Police Bureau's Mounted Patrol Division worked to move the crowd, the protesters pushed back. There were eight arrests during Monday's protests against recent officer-involved shootings.

Though not unused to confrontation, Tuesday in the safety of the Mounted Patrol paddock, the division's sergeant reflected on a very different scene.

Yesterday that group was very confrontational. They tried to push on the horses. They threw stuff at us. They were throwing bottles, padlocks, said Sgt. Franz Schoening.

Schoening says protesters are usually vocal, but careful in the presence of the bureau's 1,800 pound horses. Monday, he says the animals and their riders were confronted as targets.

They were using tactics to try to intimidate the horses, scare the horses. It was clear that they were prepared for that for the horses to be there.

Schoening says when a horse went down after slipping on a MAX line, the crowd cheered and tried to rush the animal before it could rise.

This group didn't seem to have a legitimate message to get out. They were there to cause trouble, said Schoening.

The protesters had a very different take. On the Portland Independent Media Center website, one writer stated an officer used his horse's face to smack a man's face. The man was not doing anything during the assault. Another wrote, I was pushed from behind and a cop ran me over with his horse and almost broke my toes from stomping on them.

The writers view the horses as police weapons, but Schoening disagrees. To him, they're moving walls used to keep protesters off the streets.

The horse is simply there to make sure they can't do those things that they want to do to disrupt the community. We're not going to let that happen, explained Schoening.

It's unknown if any protesters were injured by the bureau's horses. However, in its fall the bureau's horse and it's rider were hurt. The rider is expected to recover, but long term injury to the horse won't be known until week's end.

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