By Sgt. Kevin Thomson (Fort Carson)July 21, 2011
FORT CARSON, Colo. -- The 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson Mounted Color Guard added four new horses to its stables at Turkey Creek Ranch in June.
The new recruits are undergoing training needed to perform in ceremonies, events and equine demonstrations with the intent of replacing horses as they retire.
The recruitment process began this spring as members of the mounted color guard began looking for horses to be added to its ranks.
“It’s a long, drawn out process; we go through different avenues of approach,” said Sgt. John Slatton, a senior rider for the team.
According to Sgt.1st Class Stephen C. Roy, the mounted color guard noncommissioned-officer-in-charge, approximately 20 horses were looked at and evaluated before the final selections were made.
“These were the top four, they had the most potential,” said Staff Sgt. Gabriel Lincoln, senior trainer for the mounted color guard.
Depending on the amount of training and knowledge the horses have, each step of the training can take as little as a day or more than a week to complete, Lincoln said.
The “ground work” begins in a fenced round pen 50 feet in diameter and six feet high where the trainers can determine the performance and physical abilities of each horse. The trainers use the round pen as a place to evaluate and teach new tasks in a safe environment for the horses as well as the trainers.
The horses are then introduced to the arena and put through additional training to include jumping, target engagement and weapon fire.
“The training we do is familiarizing them with different types of obstacles, surroundings, banners and people,” said Staff Sgt. Micah S. Leonard, 2nd Squad team trainer. “We are just trying to get them used to things like that before we start pushing them too hard.”
The training is concentrated around the areas the horses are the weakest in, which helps to develop a well-rounded horse that can be used in all types of events, Lincoln said.
Based on how quickly the horses learn and can perform the required tasks they will begin to represent Fort Carson and the community at area events.