Commanding General's Mounted Color Guard horses receive visit from a veterinarian technician
December 12, 2008
By Lyndsey Born
FORT RILEY, Kan. - As you drive down Stuart Avenue from Henry Drive the Commanding General's Mounted Color Guard horses can be seen to the left roaming a fenced in area allotted for them. On Dec. 1 the horses had to cross the road for a visit to the doctor.
Every year the horses get their vaccinations and every six months they have blood work that allows them to travel wherever they are needed to travel, said Capt. Amanda McGuire, branch chief, Veterinary Services.
"Typically we have them on a one-year protocol," McGuire said. "We vaccinate them for rabies, common horse diseases every year and that's just to keep them healthy when they travel because they do travel a lot. The blood testing we do every six months because every state has different requirements as far as whether the Cogan's testing needs to be done every year or every six months."
Taking good care of the animals by staying on top of their vaccinations and having regular check-ups also allows for early detection of anything that may be wrong with the animal, said Capt. Richard Martinson, CGMCG commander.
"We take very good care of these animals," Martinson said. "We are always checking them over. We have been very lucky on several occasions because my men have caught things very fast because they pay such close attention to the behavior of the animals, and they all know them so well."
The men were able to save one of the horses, Trooper, from dying when he started showing signs of colic because they caught it in the first day, Martinson said. Trooper is one of many horses that were saved because of early detection.
"I would have to say we take just as good, if not better, care of these horses than most Soldiers do their combat vehicles," Martinson said.
Along with all 20 of the CGMCG's horses being vaccinated, five animals were branded later that afternoon, including two mules.
"We branded five animals," Martinson said. "Our two new mules are being branded by the MEDDAC commander and command sergeant major. The three horses are being branded by Brig. Gen. Perry Wiggins, Command Sgt. Maj. James Champagne and Col. Ricky Gibbs."
Every CGMCG horse is branded but not right away, Martinson said.
"We don't normally brand the animal right away when we get them because we don't want a 'US' brand to go on an animal who doesn't deserve it. We keep only very good horses that we ourselves train, and only our horses get the elite 'US' brand on them. The "US" brand is branded on the horses because it is the only brand the Army uses," Martinson said.