FORT HOOD, Texas - The 1st Cavalry Division’s Horse Cav. Detachment is riding once again, after resuming its weekly mounted demonstrations, which halted in March 2020 following a command-approved mission-essential manning order due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“It feels great to be back and have people in the stands,” Capt. Siddiq Hasan, commander of the detachment, said about being back in the saddle.
The weekly demonstration shows audiences the skills that horse-mounted cavalrymen have used for more than 200 years. While the cavalry has evolved over the years, to include tanks and even helicopters, the Army has kept the heritage of the horse-mounted cavalrymen alive.
Beginning the Aug. 19 demonstration, announcer 1st Lt. John Trainer stated, “Even though the face of war may shift and change, still …”
“We are the cavalry,” the riders shouted in unison as they entered the demonstration arena.
Dozens of spectators shouted as the horses galloped into the arena, ready to put on a show.
“It was a slow year, but it was a growing year and it gave us all time to progress some of the horses and a lot of the horses you see out here today, it’s only their second or third demonstration doing it really well and being comfortable with it,” Hasan said.
As the riders demonstrated skills taken directly from the Drill and Tactics Manual, dated 1874, the riders and their mounts had to work together, while also riding in coordination with the other riders and mounts. Hasan said he is proud of how well they respond to an audience.
“I think it brings our demonstrations up a level when you have that pressure of an audience there with you,” Hasan said.
The cavalrymen demonstrated weapons used by the U.S. Cavalry during the Indian Wars period – the 1873 Springfield Carbine, the 1873 single-action revolver and the 1860 light cavalry saber. Throughout the demonstration, they shoot balloons, stab sand bags and demonstrated how to chop a target at a full gallop.
“He loves horses,” April Rocha said about her 4-year-old son Leo, “so we’re very excited this is back on.”
Staff Sgt. Shelby Constancio with the Mississippi National Guard, who is at Fort Hood for the Army’s Advanced Leaders Course, said she loved the demonstration and plans to bring her daughters back to Fort Hood to see the show.
The Horse Cav. Det. demonstrations are conducted at the stables at 10 a.m. every Thursday, unless they have a conflicting engagement. Hasan said they are bringing the demonstration flags back out – a white flag means the demonstration will happen, while a black flag means it will not. He said they will also be updating their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/1stCavalryDivisionHorseCavalryDetachment.