FORT ROBINSON, Neb. - The 1st Cavalry Division's Horse Cavalry Detachment troopers perform in well over 150 public venues a year across the country.

Although they pride themselves on their horsemanship at all their public shows, they have never had the opportunity to be in a competition until HCD six-year veteran Staff Sgt. Cody Fordemwalt, of Baldwin City, Kan., heard about the U.S. Cavalry Association "National Cavalry Competition" while on a equine conference in Fort Riley, Kan.

"The competition was nice; it was like being in a rodeo," Fordemwalt said.

The USCA has held the nationals for eight years. This year's competition took place Sept. 24-26 with more than 60 competitors. Although the competition is open the public, a majority of the riders were military service members from forts Huachuca, Carson, Riley and Irwin.

The HCD sent up experienced riders, Fordemwalt; Sgt. 1st Class Filiberto Fernandez, of Dallas; Spc. Justin McDaniel, of Nauvoo, Ala.; Spc. Braden Turrentine, of Houston; and Sgt. Adam Byrd, of Waco, Texas. After months of preparation at Fort Hood, they took their biggest and fastest horses.

All the HCD troopers entered the competition as Level 3, the highest level they could compete in, in all the categories they could compete in.

The Military Horsemanship category was a demonstration of the contestant's skill and military equination and horsemanship at various gaits. McDaniel had the best showing of his fellow troopers. Turrentine placed in third during the The Mounted Pistol competition. Fordemwalt finished third in the Saber competition. Byrd finished in second during the General Bolte Cup competition which was only open to riders who finished in the top five in the Mounted Saber, Pistol and Field Jumping.

Fordemwalt said their team went out to the competition with pretty high hopes and with one mission: to place better than the other military riders.

"There was a friendly rivalry between the military guys," he said.

The individual events weren't too different from what the HCD does on a daily basis on Fort Hood, but the rules that during the NCC were set for all competitors.

"Since we took our big and fast horses, it kinda hurt us too because we thought it was about speed ... you ain't going to slow them down," Turrentine said about their horses.

Although most of the first team the HCD sent out to this year's NCC will leave the detachment, they will continue to pass on their experiences to the next year's team.

"This was our debut," Fordemwalt said. "Next year, we'll be set up for success. We'll put the right horses with the right riders."

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