Established in 1992, the Commanding General's Mounted Color Guard provides a link to Fort Riley's historic past. Troopers and horses of this unit are outfitted in the uniforms, accoutrements and equipment of the Civil War period. Soldiers are detailed from the ranks of units assigned to Fort Riley and receive instruction from manuals used by Civil War cavalrymen.
From privates to officers, these men and women recreate the colorful spectacle of the American Horse Soldier. They demonstrate their horsemanship for professional rodeos, community events, parades, school groups and official ceremonies.
The CGMCG performs mounted drill and weapons demonstrations and parades for community events and rodeos, as well as military ceremonies on Fort Riley.
The mounted demonstration is an exhibition of skill and precision required of a cavalry horse soldier. It includes various drills using the 1861 Cavalry Light Saber, .45-caliber revolver and the 1873 Remington .45-caliber lever action repeater rifle. The demonstrations require an area 150 feet by 200 feet.
The Commanding General's Mounted Color Guard represents Fort Riley and the U.S. Army in a highly professional and polished display of cavalry horsemanship and military tradition. They portray the U.S. Cavalry as they appeared in mid to late 19th century.
Soldiers in the CGMCG are assigned to the Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 1st Infantry Division. Contact the unit commander at (785) 239-0967 for more details.
The CGMCG is available to do parades and other community events. An encampment is available , as is cavalry tactics demonstrations. They perform as ambassadors to the surrounding communities, military ceremonies and the entire nation as tasked by the proper authorities. The Mounted Color Guard is flexible and can adjust performances and parades for your community. The CGMCG mainly travels within the state of Kansas, but events outside the state are considered on a case-by-case basis.
The following are examples of events in which the CGMCG has participated:
- President Donald J. Trump Inaugural Parade, Washington, D.C.
- Memorial Day Parade - Chicago
- France, Normandy D-Day Invasion Anniversary
- World Cup Finals Dressage Grand Prix
- President Barack Obama Inaugural Parade, Washington, D.C.
- President George W. Bush Inaugural Parade, Washington, D.C.
- Pro Bull Rider Association National Finals, Las Vegas
- National Cavalry Competition
- State Fair, Hutchinson, KS
- American Royal PRCA Rodeo, Kansas City
- Round-Up Rodeo, Dodge City, KS
- Pro Bull Rider Rodeo Thunder on Hooves, Thief River Falls, MN
- Vietnam War Memorial Dedication, Pierre, SD
- Civil War on the Border, Olathe, KS
- Sundown Salute, Junction City, KS
- Veteran's Day Parade, Manhattan, KS
The Commanding General's Mounted Color Guard Stable is housed in the last cavalry training stable building with the original cobblestone floor. Constructed of native limestone, this 143' x 63' building was built in 1889 at a cost of $8,861. It originally housed 76 horses utilized by the Cavalry Riding School. In the past, it also served as an indoor pistol range.
Today, the building is home to the Commanding General's Mounted Color Guard and is staffed by a commander, first sergeant and special duty Soldiers selected from units assigned to Fort Riley. It houses 18 horses.
The stables, located on Fort Riley's Main Post in Bldg. 275, are open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. Visitors are welcome. Groups of 10 people or more are encouraged to schedule a tour, DD fm 2536.
When acquiring horses, the Mounted Color Guard typically looks for 5-10-year-old bay geldings with little or no white markings, 15-15.2 hands high, 1,100-1,200 lbs. Horses with solid feet are preferred.
The horses should be sound and possess the ability to perform at the level that our training and performances demand. The horsers are primarily obtained in Kansas, but occasionally they are secured from out of state.
The original 7th Cavalry horses were bay in color with little or no white markings. The unit is authorized by original doctrine to have two off-color horses -- one for the commander and one for the guidon bearer.
The unit strives as much as possible to use animals that will provide for authentic recreations during battle re-enactments and other historic activities.
Trimmed in yellow, the cavalry branch color, the wool/cotton uniform provides degrees of warmth, as well as coolness. While in camp or garrison, the sack coat and muslin shirts are the common attire.
The trousers are kersey blue in color and reinforced in the seat to prolong wear. The wider the yellow stripe, the higher the enlisted rank. Officer's trousers have only an 1/8 inch welt of yellow cord down the outside seam.
Headgear includes a forage cap, which was copied from a style popular in the French Army. Enlisted men occasionally wear slouch hats or campaign hats, but do not have yellow hat cords. The boots worn by the soldiers are black knee-high riding boots.
The Commanding General's Mounted Color Guard uses a variety of weapons during demonstrations.
The Civil War cavalryman used a variety of weapons. The Commanding General's Mounted Color Guard uses handguns, such as the 1858 .44-caliber Remington New-Model Revolver and .45-caliber Colt New Army Model 1873. They also use firearms, such as the 1873 .45-caliber Remington Lever-Action Repeater Rifle and the 1873 12-guage double-barrel shotgun.
The cavalryman might have also carried a saber. The Model 1861 Light Cavalry Saber was the standard pattern issued. The saber gave the horse Soldier another weapon in his arsenal if the situation required its use.
The standard saddle used was the 1859-pattern McClellan. Capt. George B. McClellan developed the saddle's design after his travels in Mexico and Europe in the 1850's.
A distinctive feature of the saddle was the rawhide seat, which was adopted for economy. The McClellan saddle, which weighs approximately 18 pounds, was designed for the comfort of the horse. Additional parts of the saddle were the M1859 bridle, the M1859 girth, the M1863 curb bit, two canteens, feed bag, lariat and saddle bags. This saddle, with certain modifications, was used by the cavalry until World War II.
The Commanding General's Mounted Color Guard acquired two Molly Mules on July 4, 2005, from Tennessee. The mules are Percheron draft horse crosses. In Sept. 2005, the mule team won first place in the Kansas State Fair competition. In 2006, the team won additional awards at the Kansas State Fair.
1871 Army Escort Wagon
The U.S. Cavalry Museum donated an 1871 Army Escort Wagon to the Commanding General's Mounted Color Guard in 2001.
According to our records, this wagon came to Fort Riley from Fort Knox. The hardware of the wagon is 98 percent original. However, when the unit received the wagon, much of the wood was rotten and decayed.
Commanding General's Mounted Color Guard Soldiers, along with a wagon company, restored the wagon to its current condition.
The box is constructed of red oak while the undercarriage and wheels are constructed of white oak.
While the escort wagons were not equipment common to a cavalry unit, they were highly sought after to transport the cavalry's beans and bullets.
The wagon serves as a reminder of the contributions of the combat service support roles played by the quartermaster corps and other logistical units whose contributions are recognized as an essential element and combat multiplier on the battle fields today.