The Culver Academies’ Black Horse Troop and Equestriennes appearance in Friday’s Presidential Inaugural Parade marks the 104th anniversary of the primary reason the Troop made its first trip down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. Troopers served as the official escort for Vice President Thomas Marshall during Woodrow Wilson’s inaugural parade in 1913 and again in 1917. Marshall – as is Mike Pence – was governor of Indiana prior to his election as vice president. On both occasions, the entire Corps of Cadets marched in the parade.
Because of the Indiana connection, the Troop and Equestriennes will be in Division 2 of the parade. The division will be led by the United States Marine Corps units. The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Motorcycle Drill Team will be in front of the horses and the Columbus (Ind.) North High School marching band will be behind them. The parade is scheduled to begin after the congressional luncheon, approximately 2 p.m. It will be televised live on several networks with uninterrupted coverage on CSPAN and the official White House livestream.
Friday will be the 17th time the Black Horse Troop has participated and eighth time for the Equestriennes. Fifty-seven boys from Culver Military Academy’s Black Horse Troop and 23 Equestriennes of Culver Girls Academy, plus members of the Horsemanship staff and adult chaperones, will make the trip to Washington. Two Troopers and two Equestriennes will also serve as banner carriers in front of the group.
Culver’s student riders represent 17 states and 10 countries. The students, chaperones, and 80 horses left for Washington, D.C., early Wednesday morning. The weekend is much more than the parade, as students will tour the government memorials, monuments, Smithsonian museums, and visit the Arlington National Cemetery. A special color guard unit is to present the colors at the Indiana Society of Washington this (Thursday) evening. Saturday night, the Troopers and Equestriennes will be honored by more than 600 Washington-area alumni and parents during a special dinner, capping off the historic weekend.
Culver went 40 years before returning to Washington in 1957 for President Eisenhower’s second term. The renewed interest came after a cadet asked in 1952 why couldn’t Culver participate in the Inaugural Parade again. Superintendent Delmar T. Spivey gave approval for the 1957 trip, starting the current run. The school has been represented by mounted units at every parade since, except in 1993 when an invitation for President Clinton’s first inaugural parade was not extended.