FORT IRWIN, Calif. -- Troopers assigned to the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment Horse Detachment conducted an internal cavalry competition open to the local community on August 26th, 2021.
For Troopers of the Horse Detachment, the yearly culminating event is the National Cavalry Competition, where they travel across the United States to historic Fort Reno, Oklahoma to represent the traditions and history of the 11th ACR. Before the National event, internal Competitions are executed at the 11th ACR Horse Detachment to inculcate Troopers with a competitive atmosphere and test them on their strengths and weaknesses.
“We travel to the National Cavalry Competition each year to compete against other active-duty Horse Detachments, as well as allow our Troopers to see how far they have come in such a short time,” said Capt. Michael Gates, Horse Detachment Officer in Charge. “The competition is not solely won on the back of a horse. Troopers must be smart and memorize courses and target layouts after only seeing them once, so mental agility is a focus of our training team daily. We’ve also had plenty of classroom time to go over rules and penalties so that all Troopers can perform in full confidence that they know where they stand.”
The events evaluated during this internal competition follow the competencies set forth by the United States Cavalry Association focused on the National Cavalry Competition and consist of Military Horsemanship, Combat Horsemanship, Mounted Shooting, Mounted Sabers, Military Field Jumping, and the Major Howze Event (Endurance).
“Each event grades riders on slightly different criteria that are specific to the test, but the criteria that are graded in all events include horsemanship, the appearance of Trooper and horse, and health of the horse,” said Capt. Gates.
Spouses and civilians of Fort Irwin have the opportunity to come to the Horse Detachment stables for entertainment and a unique opportunity to watch the Troopers compete. It is one of many things that Fort Irwin and the 11th ACR have to offer its spouses and community while stationed in the Mojave desert.
There are three different levels in the National Cavalry Competition. Level 1 pertains to newer and or experienced riders with the newer horses. Level 2 pertains to Troopers who are well versed in riding and competing with well-rounded horses. Level 3 is for seasoned riders who have a lot of experience with riding as well as horses who perform extraordinary well. The following Troopers will represent Fort Irwin and the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment Horse Detachment at the National Cavalry Competition.
Capt. Michael Gates on Fritz at Level 1
Staff Sgt. Jacob Wilson on Comanche at Level 1
Staff Sgt. Nathan Perkins on Yano at Level 1
Spc. Clarissa Falmad on Chief at Level 1
Spc. McDaniel on Charger at Level 1
Cpl. John Wenger on Hondo at Level 2
Spc. Donaji Sandoval on Gunsmoke at Level 2
Spc. Bryan Mosqueda on Bradley at Level 2
Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Stemple on Gary Owen at Level 2
The 11th ACR Horse Detachment was granted the status of Special Ceremonial Unit in 2002 for the purpose of aiding the recruiting effort, community relations, and participating in formal military and civilian ceremonies. All spots in the Horse Detachment are organic to the 11th ACR, which enables them to be a diverse unit with many MOS’s and backgrounds. The mounted Troopers defined the 11th Cavalry at its creation in 1901, and it is the job of the Horse Detachment to keep the history and traditions of the Cavalry alive today. The Horse Detachment serves as a one-year assignment, during this time troopers learn how to properly care for the horses, groom the horses, become expert riders, and represent the 11th ACR in a way that many don’t have the opportunity to.
The 11th ACR Horse Detachment will travel to Fort Reno, Oklahoma, to compete in the National Cavalry Competition from September 22nd through the 25th. For additional details and a timeline of events for the National Cavalry Competition, please visit: https://uscavalryassociation.org/events/