Families tested their knowledge of horses’ roles in history, crafted paper wagons, watched a live farrier demonstration and listened to horse-themed stories during the Frontier Army Museum’s History with Horses event Oct. 14 at the Fort Leavenworth Stables.
FAM Museum Technician Megan Hunter said when the museum staff visited the stables recently to help enhance their understanding of horses’ connections to Fort Leavenworth’s history, they were inspired to coordinate an event with the stables.
“We wanted to learn more about horses since we talk about them so much at the museum with the dragoons and the cavalry. Fort Leavenworth, being the gateway to the west… it's all about horses. All of the buildings around here were stables at some point. Gruber Gym, next to the museum, was a riding hall,” Hunter said, referencing the history of horses on post. “We just wanted to make that connection.”
Hunter said the connection between horses and the post’s history is significant.
“I think (horses are) so deeply connected to Fort Leavenworth… (Fort Leavenworth was) established in 1827 to be a protectant on the Santa Fe Trail, which was just horse- and mule-drawn wagons, and because we have that rich history, it plays into why we are cemented where we are. It also plays into the longevity on post and some of the historical aspects that we have here.”
Hunter offered examples, including the role of horses in World War I and the School of Cavalry on post. She said the military’s love of horses has persisted, as several service members still board horses with the Fort Leavenworth Stables.
FFAM Education and Event Chairperson Jackie Williams said the History with Horses provided educational programming for both adults and children.
“To incorporate another part of the Garrison besides just the museum’s footprint and the historic homes just goes back to the fact that the whole (installation) is historical,” Williams said. “It's not just one or two buildings, it's the whole place. It's not just one or two artifacts in a museum or a building, it's (everything).”
Natural Farrier Tammy Hane and other local horse owners used the opportunity to inform families about horse care.
A farrier is someone who specializes in equine hoof care, including shoeing, and a natural farrier is someone who trims and balances horse hooves without horseshoes. Hane demonstrated her services to show people why natural hooves make for healthy horses.
“There's a lot more to hoof care than healthy hooves. It's not just hoof care, it's actually horse care,” Hane said.
History with Horses also aimed to raise awareness about boarding opportunities at the stables, provided networking for the equine community and gave an introduction to the animals for horse-crazy children.
Mary Grimes said her family heard about the event through a homeschool group, and they visited the stables on a field trip.
“(Horses) are a part of the history at Leavenworth, which makes it a unique post because not every installation has this,” Grimes said.
Hunter said this event’s success could prompt an additional event in the spring.
For more information about the stables, visit https://leavenworth.armymwr.com/programs/stables-and-horses.