As a kid, I watched legends ride. Bill Steinkraus, Kathy Kusner, Mary Mairs, Frank Chapot and Hugh Wiley competed against the D'Inzeo brothers, the Argentine, Canadian, and the Irish teams. I saw legendary horses like Untouchable, Bold Minstrel, Riviera Wonder, Sinjon, Snowbound, Aberali, and the palomino horse with the flying tail, Nautical. Harry De Leyer and the famous Snowman were practically in my backyard. These things caused me to develop a deep love for U.S. horsemanship history.
When I moved to the Mid West, I worked with old cavalry men such as Dr. Riling, one of the last veterinarians at Fort Riley, and Cap. William C. Meyer. Meyer was a gruff old soldier who had taken pack trains into the Gobi desert during WWII. He trained the Mongolian cavalry and then cared for Emperor Hirohito's white horse after the war.
We have a proud heritage that came from the finest cavalry school in the world, Fort Riley. Fort Riley Cavalry School was the equestrian “think tank” of its day, and men like Guy Henry and Harry Chamberlin were at the right place and the right time to develop the roots of good horsemanship in the United States.
To help preserve some of our horsemanship history, I developed a website devoted to U.S. horsemanship history. If you are interested in learning more, please visit USHorsemanship.com. Sign up for the newsletter and you'll receive the French Cavalry Manual as a free download.
But the history of the American horse does not stop with the cavalry. It lived in the horses that died dragging covered wagons across America. The horse that was part of a twelve horse hitch pulling combines through wheat fields. Horses that helped build railroads, ones who carried the doctor to deliver babies, or carried librarians through the mountains. These are jewels to carry forward in our fiction.