To Tame A Horse And Ride It To War

The men emerged over the crest of a ridge and guided their horses along a tree line, skirting a wide meadow. They picked their way along narrow trails, climbing higher into the Sierra until a panorama of snowcapped peaks and a broad green valley unfolded beneath them.

The men, Special Forces soldiers dressed in jeans and other civilian clothes, led their horses into a thick stand of pine trees, where they dismounted and let the horses drink from a clear mountain stream before breaking out their own rations.

At this remote training area high in the Sierra, the U.S. Marine Corps is reviving the horsemanship skills that were once a key part of the nation's armed forces but were cast aside when tanks and armored vehicles replaced them. The need to bring these skills back was driven home in Afghanistan in 2001, when the first Special Forces soldiers to arrive found themselves fighting on horseback alongside tribesmen in rugged terrain without roads. Many had never ridden a horse before.

"We don't want to reinvent anything," said Marine Capt. Seth Miller, the officer in charge of formal schools at the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center. "These are skills that were lost."

Marine instructors are teaching the students, most of them Army Special Forces soldiers, how to control horses, care for them and load packs. The students are taught how to calculate routes and distances for rides and what to look for when purchasing horses from locals. For example, checking teeth is a good way to determine age and avoid getting ripped off by a farmer trying to pass off an ancient mule or horse.

In a throwback to the old Wild West days, instructors are considering training soldiers in how to shoot from a moving horse....
There's quite a bit more at the link. We may see a swelling in our ranks.


Tom said...

I never tire of that song. Wish I could go to the school.

douglas said...

That training center near Bridgeport is the perfect place- the Alpine terrain is so often impassable to vehicles, but the horses can do well there. OF course, it's also beautiful- right outside the bounds of Yosemite.

Several pack companies work in the area, with everything from day trips to multi-day backcountry trips, and for a longer experience you can aid them in the drive down in to Owens Valley in the fall to Winter the horses in the lower ranges, or the reverse in the spring- experienced riders only!
With the economy the way it's been, I can only wish I could afford to do it.

Anonymous said...

I remember when the Afghanistan fighting started, and my father's good friend, a semi-retired Marine, grinning and gloating a little, "Now the young guys get to deal with mules!" Apparently there had been talk about removing the "how to load a pack animal" material from several of the handbooks.


Ymar Sakar said...

EMP hardened transportation.

Grim said...

That's true.

Ymar Sakar said...

Also 100% corn produced fuel intakes, that can benefit from Green and Military Green funding.

Ymar Sakar said...

Most samurai clans when the Meiji Restoration removed their social feudal status, basically kept doing the same dojo training, except now without swords and martial killing techniques.

Thus kenjutsu to bojutsu to aikijutsu to aikido, to pacifism.

Only the crazy people charged the Japanese military's miniguns using cavalry to preserve their traditions. There were easier ways to preserve things.

Reference to the vid clip from Samurai something movie with Tom watchacall it.