News: ‘Warhorse’ spur ride: measures strength, endurance
Story by Staff Sgt. Ruth Pagan
FORT CARSON, Colo. – A true measure of strength isn’t determined by how much weight a person can lift, but by how much that individual can endure when their body is tested both physically and mentally and when all they want to do is give up, but they push on to accomplish the mission.
The soldiers from 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment and 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment both with 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, pushed themselves to the limit during the squadron’s spur ride held Nov. 1 through 2.
The spur ride, a 36 hour event, pushed soldiers to their physical and mental limitations by testing their ability to operate as part of a team under high levels of stress and fatigue throughout both day and night conditions.
“If you notice, CAV is not a branch, CAV is a state of mind,” said Col. Omar Jones IV, commanding officer of 2nd BCT, 4th Inf. Div., senior spur holder. “CAV is about combined arms, it’s about moving faster, shooting straighter and thinking better. It doesn’t matter what your branch is, doesn’t matter what your [military job] is what matters is CAV is in your head and your going to prove that through your spur ride.”
The spur candidate were randomly placed into 10 teams each with a “walker” or spur holder who coached the candidates through the spur ride both with physical and verbal encouragements.
“The spur candidates are constantly questioned on cavalry history and basic soldiering skills; if their answer is wrong their body makes up for where their mind failed them, so they have to complete a physical task to make up for their lacking knowledge,” said Staff Sgt. Jacob Aanerud, operations noncommissioned officer, HHT, 1st Sqdn., 10th Cav. Reg., spur holder. “As long as they don’t give up, they will get their spurs.”
The tasks the spur candidates were required to complete included a physical fitness test, a written test, vehicle identification, an obstacle course and a land navigation course carrying a 40-65 pound rucksack and at each point on the course they were tested on basic soldiering skills.
“This is about physical and mental toughness,” said Lt. Col. Dave Guthrie, commanding officer of 1st Sqdn., 10th Cav. Reg., senior squadron spur holder. “It’s knowing you can overcome the obstacles; you’re going to gut through it because the guy next to you is going to gut through it.”
The soldiers relied heavily on their fellow spur candidates for support and encouragement.
“It’s a team effort,” said Spc. Logan Cruci, cavalry scout, HHT, 1st Sqdn., 10th Cav. Reg., spur candidate. “We came together as a group and accomplished things we probably wouldn’t have been able to alone because we pushed each other and wouldn’t let each other fail.”
The spur ride isn’t just about a soldier’s bragging rights, it’s also a way for the squadron to distinguish its best and brightest soldiers.
“This is how the CAV identifies their leaders,” said Sgt. 1st Class William Blizzard, senior enlisted leader, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1st Sqdn., 10th Cav. Reg., spur holder. “So, knowing that every leader in the squadron knows how to push themselves past that limit — that refusal to quit, that’s what makes us stronger as an organization.”
Out of the134 spur candidates 123 completed the physically demanding challenge and rucked to a ceremony held at Turkey Creek Ranch where they were presented with silver spurs and a barbecue lunch.
“Not every soldier gets this opportunity and for me to be able to go through this and accomplish it — I feel really proud,” said Sgt. Joyce Ho, intelligence analyst, HHT, 1st Sqdn., 10th Cav. Reg., spur candidate. “I think everyone should do it; it’s a way to test yourself physically and mentally to see what you can do and more often then not, you will surprise yourself at what you can accomplish when you set your mind to it.”