Long before the Buffalo Soldiers performed their duties on horseback on the Western Frontier, African Americans had established a long tradition of excellent horsemanship and riding. It is no myth and only valid legend that the first Cowboys originated from Africa.
Following you will find some bits of history that should motivate you as a member of the Buffalo Soldier Mounted Cavalry Unit to strive to be the best horseman and rider you can be.
Many Americans know about the proliferation of Black Cowboys participating in the great cattle drives of the late 1800’s. But it did not start or end there. A young black man, Oliver Lewis, 19, won the first Kentucky Derby in 1875. In fact 15 out of the first 28 winning jockeys of the Kentucky Derby were black. By the 1920’s they had been pushed out of the sport by racism.
But Members of the Buffalo Soldiers were able to compete in Military Equestrian competitions. Both the 9th and 10th Cavalry fielded very competitive Military Equestrian Teams, winning 1st Prize in shows at Fort Riley, Kansas, Fort Leavenworth, Fort Myer, Virginia. Their list of equestrian accomplishments is very long. Internationally, representatives of the 10th Cavalry Regiment took 9 blue ribbons at the very first Manila Horse Show in 1907.
MINIMUM TACK REQUIREMENTS FOR ALL TROOPERS
Riding Boots with a Heel
QUALIFICATION TEST – BASIC TROOPER
Perform the following Tasks (PASS/FAIL):
Properly Halter the Horse.
State the size of and establish your “Bubble”, the distance between you and your horse (from 1 foot to the length of the lead line).
Maintaining your “Bubble” Lead the horse 20 paces.
Maintaining your bubble, stop the horse.
Maintaining your bubble, have the horse 3 steps backwards and stop.
Safely tie the horse.
Properly Blanket and Saddle the Horse, checking for the proper distance between the shoulder blade and tree, and clearance for the withers (lifting the blanket at the gullet).
Bridle the horse properly in a snaffle bit.
Safely Mount the Horse.
With snaffle bit, at a halt, demonstrate the proper application of a one rein emergency stop, disengaging the hind end.
With snaffle bit, at a walk, demonstrate a one rein stop.
With snaffle bit, at a trot (or Running Walk for Gaited Horses), 2 symmetrical figure 8’s (35′ diameter or larger).
With an Independent Seat, trot (or Running Walk for Gaited Horses), 2 symmetrical figure 8’s (35′ diameter or larger) Rider may change gait to a trot as he changes from one circle to the other (Simple lead change).
With an Independent Seat, canter 2 symmetrical figure 8’s (35′ diameter or larger). Rider may change gait to a trot as he changes from one circle to the other (Simple lead change).
On Command, Halt your horse.
On Command, back your horse 3 steps (count the foot fall of either the left or right front hoof).
The Buffalo Soldiers in our troop practice and participate in Cowboy Mounted Shooting. All skill levels and ages are welcome. It’s a fast pace equestrian-gunfighter sport. Using carefully prepared blank ammunition Mounted Cav members run their horses in an obstacle course arena setting. Your targets are balloons. You must complete your course within the time allotted.
BSMCU participates in civic parades throughout the year in the Central and Southern California area. The troopers and their equestrian partners represent a stunning display of military professionalism, sharpness, and a look of a time gone by.
“We ride to inform others of who we were and who we are. We serve to revive the lives of our ancestors.“ – Aaron Dyson