Fort Riley soldiers, horses part of inauguration

Wichita EagleDecember 30, 2008 

Training will begin in earnest next week for 14 participants from Kansas who will appear in the inauguration parade in Washington D.C. They are preparing for frigid weather, large and potentially unruly crowds, and icy streets dotted by dangerous manhole covers, subway grates and steam vents.

They have names such as Comanche, Traveler, Cyclone, Gunner and Scout.

They are bay geldings standing 15 to 15.2 hands high and weighing 1,100 to 1,200 pounds.

They have been carefully selected for this duty based on temperament, looks and their ability to adapt to their riders.

All but one -- a Mustang from Wyoming -- are native Kansas quarterhorses.

Riding them will be 14 soldiers in the Commanding General's Mounted Color Guard at Fort Riley.

The soldiers are as elite as the horses. They were selected for the unit after a 30-day trial based on their athleticism, ability to control their horses, character and other soldierly qualities.

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