VALENCIA – The traffic was bad enough Friday at Valencia’s mall, and it got worse when the horse with antlers trotted amid cars in the crowded parking lots. Motorists cruising the lots in search of a parking spot on this traditional opening to the holiday shopping season couldn’t help but stare at the four equestrians assigned to patrol parking areas. A sheriff’s deputy and three civilian volunteers rode horseback, augmenting the Valencia Town Center security force. “You can pretty much see from one end of the parking lot to the other when you’re on a horse,” said sheriff’s Deputy Artie Thompson, who coordinates the volunteer posse. “I think they’re excellent as the eyes and ears for the department.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals The equestrian patrol also is a public relations move, Thompson acknowledged. “Everyone likes the horses, the kids come up to them,” he said. “Even the bad guys like the horses.” The horse squad will patrol the mall parking lots on and off throughout the season. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!