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unit history

The Horse Detachment was established in January 1972 when the First Cavalry Division Association voted to sponsor a Horse Platoon and ten horses were procured from the Army Pentathlon Team in San Antonio, Texas. Our first show - a parade - took place in San Angelo, Texas, that same year. By the end of 1972, our herd had grown to 18 mounts and in 1973 we added two mules and an 1878 Escort Wagon to our inventory.

The Detachment performed its first mounted demonstration in 1974 using six riders and mounts. Throughout the 1970's the Detachment continued to grow, although individual soldiers were still donating a lot of their personal time, supplies, and money to make the unit function. All that began to change when the U.S. Army recognized the Horse Platoon as a Special Ceremonial Unit and took over financial oversight of the unit. Today the Detachment is the only permanently-staffed and independently-funded mounted cavalry unit on Active Duty in the United States Army.

In 1984, the position of Civilian Trainer and Stablemaster was created. A distinguished Department of the Army civilian post, this position has provided great continuity over the years and respected expertise to the efforts of the Detachment. Since its inception, only two men have held the position.

The Horse Platoon was renamed the Horse Cavalry Detachment to better conform to historical precedent in 1986. It was about this time that the demonstration was improved to include 11 riders and mounts and a four mule hitch pulling the Escort Wagon. That task organization has remained our standard (with rare exceptions) ever since.

Over the years, the Detachment has appeared in 3 Presidential Inaugural Parades, six Tournament of Roses Parades, the 1984 World's Fair, and literally thousands of state and local events.

The Detachment is currently comprised of one commissioned officer, 40 enlisted soldiers, and one DA civilian. Our stables are home to 36 horses, seven mules, and one dog. The unit prides itself on self-sufficiency and regularly sends its enlisted members to advanced civilian-run school programs where they learn the skills needed to become farriers, saddlemakers, and bootmakers for the Detachment.

Last Updated: 9 November 2007