FORT HOOD, TX, UNITED STATES
FORT HOOD, Texas - “We have some of the most rigorous training that you can get as a mounted cavalry trooper,” said Sgt. Jessie Hurst.
That training proved itself when three Troopers from the 1st Cavalry Division Horse Cavalry Detachment placed high at the National Cavalry Competition, also known as the Cav Cup, in El Reno, Oklahoma, Sept. 17 through 21.
“It’s the best feeling in the world,” Hurst said. “To be able to represent not just Fort Hood and III Corps but the United Sates Army and say, ‘Hey, we’re out here. We went to the national level with three people, and this is what we can do.’”
Hurst, the horse detachment’s military trainer, joined the detachment in 2008 with only a little experience prior to the military riding horses.
Despite his lack of experience, in 2012 he won the Bolte Cup, which is the overall culminating event in the competition.
This year he did it again.
“It goes to show that the Troopers out here at the horse detachment, 1st Cav. Division, we set ourselves above everybody,” said Hurst, a Mammoth Spring, Arkansas, native.
“The Bolte Cup is really intense,” he added. “You take every weapon that a Trooper had in the 1800s, and you’re going to use it on that course. In every scenario, you’re going to start out with sabers, and you’re going to engage about 12 different targets with your saber. From that, you must put your saber up, dismount your horse inside a small little box and the horse cannot step outside of that.”
Hurst also placed first in Mounted Sabers.
Hurst said Troopers can join the detachment with no experience and in six months have enough skills acquired to be a part of the ceremonies on Cooper Field.
“As far as what we do, we’re the biggest and probably the best unit in the United States Army when it comes to the mounted cavalry,” Hurst said. “And it’s because of the pride that we take out here. The command team is involved everyday in our training, and the outcome, as you see, is we took three Soldiers to compete against 70 different people at the Cavalry competition.”
Throughout the competition Hurst rode Cobra. Hurst said there were about 60 to 80 horses at the competition on any given day. In the end, Cobra won the Pegasus Award – which is awarded to the cavalry horse with the best color, training and care.
Prior to the Cav Cup Competition, the detachment Soldiers held an internal competition to see who would represent the division.
The best performance in timed events that tested the Soldiers’ cavalry skills determined who would get to compete at the national level.
Sgt. Logan Rubenthaler, a saddle maker at the detachment, scored the highest during the detachment competition and showcased his skills better than he expected, he said
He won fourth place in the Bolte Cup, third place in Mounted Pistols, fifth place in Mounted Sabers and eighth place in Horsemanship — and he said we was just going out there to have fun.
“I feel honored to be able to represent the 1st Cavalry Division in a national competition especially, because we had three people go up there from the horse detachment, and there were other units that had 20 to30 people from their unit,” said Rubenthaler, a native of Pullman, Washington.
The horse detachment has three groups: A, B and C. A is the elite group and has the most riding privileges, and C is the beginner group all Soldiers start out in upon being assigned there.
Since Rubenthaler is a B Grouper, or intermediate level, his intentions were to compete in level two at the Cav Cup. At the last minute, he decided to compete in level three, which is for expert riders.
“To be able to go up there as a B Grouper and do what I did says a lot about the standards, discipline and training that you get at the horse cavalry detachment,” said Rubenthaler, who has been assigned to the detachment for two and a half years. “They had guys out there that I competed against that were past national champions of the Cav Cup and a lot of them have been riding for a lot of years combined.”
With the recent change-of-command at the detachment, the Soldiers’ involvement in the competition was up in the air until just weeks prior the competition.
Once the Troopers received word that they would indeed be competing, they threw themselves into practicing and getting ready.
“We focused on the Cav Cup Competition for two weeks,” said Capt. Elizabeth Rascon, the 1st Cav. Div. Horse Cav. Detachment commander. “If we did that well after two weeks, imagine how we would do if we practiced a little longer. I think the fact that one of our B Groupers went and placed so high in this competition shows the depth of our training.”
Rascon, a Mesquite, Texas, native also competed in the competition.
“I do have a little bit of experience, but never before have I done any weapons with horses, so the mounted pistols and mounted sabers were a completely new experience to me,” she said.
Rascon took fourth place in Military Horsemanship and said she had about three months to learn how to use weapons while riding a horse.
Rascon is hopeful more Soldiers can attend the competition in the future.
She said, “The more people we can send, Fort Hood will be taking the top 10 slots probably.”
||FORT HOOD, TX, US
||MAMMOTH SPRING, AR, US
||MESQUITE, TX, US
||PULLMAN, WA, US
This work, Cavalry Troopers win big at national competition, by SGT Angel Turner, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.