B Troop graduates three new riders
By Christopher Zimmerman
B Troop, 4th U.S. Cavalry (Memorial)
Three new members of B Troop, 4th U.S. Cavalry (Memorial) donned their spurs for the first time on Friday afternoon upon graduation of the B Troop Riding School. The ceremony was conducted on Brown Parade Field which was once the scene of daily cavalry training during the late 1800s and early 1900s. After being awarded their spurs by Garrison Commander Col. Melissa Sturgeon, the new recruits conducted their first public cavalry charge.
This year's graduates were Staff Sgt. Shawn Allen of the 305th Military Intelligence Battalion, Brad Van Cleve of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and Garrett Stineburg who is a retired federal firefighter. All three recently completed the demanding three-and-a-half month B Troop cavalry riding school.
Each recruit was selected for training following a three-month recruiting campaign held last winter. Those interested needed to submit an application signed by their unit commander or director, provide a letter of recommendation, and attend an interview at the stables where they were observed riding a horse. Those selected were informed of their acceptance into the riding school at the end of January and reported for training on Feb. 10.
The training began with the less glamorous aspects of the cavalry. Recruits learned the basics of caring for a horse including feeding, grooming, first aid, cleaning tack, and cleaning out a horse stall. Once a recruit was competent in horse care, he was taught how to saddle a horse and to bridle it.
At the end of the first month of training, the recruits were tested on basic horsemanship skills. They were required to ride in a specific pattern while demonstrating balance and control at a walk, trot, and gallop. They were also given a quiz on their horse care knowledge.
The next phase of training lasted two-and-a-half months and focused on teaching the recruits the basics of ceremonial and performance riding. Recruits learned mounted drill procedures, weapons handling while mounted, how to assemble campaign tack, advanced riding techniques, and the mounted charge for which B Troop is well known. The final test was held May 21 in Wren Arena and was preceded by a 40-question written test on weapons employment, riding techniques, unit organization and cavalry history.
After months of riding training, the graduates may have been a bit saddle-sore, but all physical discomfort disappeared when they accepted the shiny brass spurs of a cavalryman. They had been through a lot of training in four months with some having little or no previous riding experience. B Troop isn't for the faint of heart and these three men showed the courage and determination needed to join the long line of troopers who have helped keep alive the spirit and heritage of the Old Army Cavalry.
The next school will begin in February 2010, and recruiting will begin this November. People interested in applying for the cavalry riding school should contact the B Troop program coordinator in November at 538-2178 for an application.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16