FORT HOOD - After a grueling month-long tryout process, three soldiers passed the test and made the 1st Cavalry Division Horse Detachment Team.
The unit started with seven trainees back in July, but three remained after the 200-question final. The test included a detailed history of the detachment, along with questions on horse anatomy and historic weapons.
"It was pretty difficult, but it was fun, but I was definitely glad to have it over with," said Sergeant Randy Raper.
"A lot of intake, a lot, a lot to learn, it was a lot. But at the same time it's so interesting that you want to keep learning more and more," said new member Sergeant Emmanuel Ortiz.
The month-long tryout included 5 a.m. feeding times, long days and getting to know the horses. Now, the soldiers continue to learn a little about the personality of each horse. Private First Class Jamie Borza was paired with a horse named Anville on Wednesday.
"He is more sensitive. He does have that nervous factor to him. It's just like a person has a nervous factor," Borza said. "The horse is going to feel it. The horse feels everything."
Ortiz has come a long way in the past few months. He didn't have much experience with horses at all before he joined the team.
"I've never gotten on a horse going on a trot. That's like the medium speed, which is really jumpy and I was just holding onto the seat like I was trying to save my life," he said.
He continues to get used to the working with each horse. He told Channel 6 a little about one of them.
"Every time you try to groom him, he tries to bite you. I love that horse. He has a lot of character, I love him," he said.
The teammates commit to a year-and-a-half to two years working with the horses. The soldiers are looking forward to traveling to events like the Rose Parade in California to show off their four-legged friends and represent the U.S. Army.
The horse team is involved in weekly demonstrations at the stables, at ceremonies on post and in community events. For more information about the 1st Cavalry Division Horse Detachment, click here.
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