Cavalry Embarks on Spur Ride
Soldiers with the 1st Squadron, 172nd Cavalry Regiment (Mountain) and the attached Delta Company, 186th Brigade Support Battalion, Vermont Army National Guard, conducted a Spur Ride at Camp Ethan Allen Training Site, Jericho, Vermont, May 25. The Spur Ride is an evaluation of the skills each cavalry Soldier has to know which includes eight miles of ruck marching, casualty care, claymore setup, a written test, mountain skills evaluation, stress shoot, weapon systems knowledge and an equipment layout.
"All of the skills we're testing here today are skills they needed to train on anyway
as part of their job, whether they're a truck driver, mechanic or a cavalry scout,"
said Lt. Col. Leonard Poirer, commander, 1st Squadron, 172nd Cavalry Regiment
The event has its roots in a long history dating back to the horse mounted
cavalry. Riders who were not skilled were unable to wear the spurs because it
made the horse overactive, and they could not control the horse, said Poirer.
Once a rider demonstrated a higher level of horsemanship he earned the right to
wear the spurs.
"So someone that did well enough in the PT (Physical Training) event, moves
through the foot movements fast enough and scores well enough on the task
evaluations, will earn their spurs," said Poirer.
The weight of the event is not lost on the Soldiers in the unit. "It's important to
maintain your history, and to remind Soldiers of where we came from and to
motivate them to want to be better and be proficient in these tasks and build
camaraderie," said Sgt. Cassandra Scott, assigned to Headquarters,
Headquarters Troop, 1st Squadron, 172nd Cavalry Regiment (Mountain).
Moreover, the event promotes unit cohesion and Soldier readiness.
"It's a way to build camaraderie, esprit de corps, pride in the unit, and itís a way
for Soldiers to prove themselves and prove that they have the basic skills and
knowledge as well as the determination and initiative to be successful cavalry
troopers," said Poirer.
While it does offer Soldiers the chance to prove themselves, it also reveals the
skills they need to improve.
"It will definitely point out flaws that we as individual Soldiers have," said Scott. "It
will bring to light the skills that we need to practice to be more proficient on."
Despite shining a light on what they need to work on, the Soldiers aren't
"The vast majority of Soldiers are motivated to do it," said Poirer. "It's been
successful overall, it's been well received by the Soldiers."
"It reminds me why I love the Vermont National Guard and being part of the
Cavalry," said Scott.