Six candidates are trying out to join the ranks of the historic Commanding General’s Mounted Color Guard. The candidates come from across the 1st Infantry Division and a variety of duties.
Pvt. 1st Class Cyrus Dougherty from 1st Infantry Division Artillery worked in agriculture in Kansas and Colorado before joining the Army.
“I was working for a farm out in Grand Junction, Colorado, before I joined the Army,” Dougherty said. “So [this is] a return to normalcy for me.”
Experience with horses is not a requirement to become a member of the CGMCG.
“We want diversity in our candidates,” said Sgt. 1st Class Roy Walters, 1st Sgt of CGMCG. “Here's what I tell my recruits: Attitude and work ethic. And that's what's going to keep him on here because this is a working ranch within the military, and those two things create a challenge and significant reward.”
“We may do things different than the way they grew up doing things,” said 1st Lt. Walter Knight, executive officer of the CGMCG. “There’s a lot of ways handling horses, but we have our way and that’s what they may have to relearn.”
The formal tryout lasts eight weeks. The first week introduces the candidates to the horses and an example of a typical rodeo demonstration by the experienced Troopers. They also learn the basics of horse anatomy and stable duties, and meet with the stable master and ferrier.
“They don't start riding until week two or three,” Walters said. “So, you got to start everything from the ground up and then [learn] halters, tying them up and all that.”
The following weeks, candidates go through the many shops of CGMCG to learn about leather maintenance, the weapons they use during demonstrations and drill and ceremony. The latter is an important part of the training as the CGMCG stay busy every summer with rodeos and demonstrations across the U.S.
This all sounds exciting to the candidates hoping for a spot on a team.
“Learning how to do the demos - it's, to me, it's the coolest part of it all,” Dougherty said. “And I just enjoy spending every day working with the horses.”
After completing the eight-week training, candidates will receive their iconic red hat and belt buckle in a ceremony and will be a part of the historic CGMCG.
“I’m really excited about doing what I love and keeping the history - making the old new again,” said Spc. Sammi Wright, an intel analyst with 1st Combat Aviation Brigade.