D.C. police have disbanded the equestrian unit that has sent horses into city streets for almost two decades, saying they could no longer afford to operate it due to new budget cuts.

The Horse Mounted Unit had four horses and four officers who were deployed to engage with children in communities across the city. The unit also controlled crowds at protests and parades, among other events.

“Considering the recent budget cuts by the D.C. Council, we’ve had to make some difficult decisions at MPD, including the disbanding of our Horse Mounted Unit,” D.C. police spokesperson Kristen Metzger said in a statement.

Metzger declined to comment on the cost of running the unit.

The four mounted officers will stay within the department’s Special Operations division, Metzger said, adding that “we are going to make sure we find good homes for the horses.”

The decision comes almost two months after D.C. lawmakers decided to cut $15 million from the police department budget amid growing cries for police reform. D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham has declined to discuss the cuts at length but stressed that underfunded police departments can deprive the city of resources that help keep it safe.

Over two days, a Change.org petition hoping to preserve the Horse Mounted Unit garnered more than 1,000 signatures.

“The Horse Unit was created to be a community-oriented ambassador for the department,” it says. “The Horse Unit was, and still, is a huge success with the citizens of the District of Columbia.”