(first published in the June & July 2022 issues of The Equiery)
On April 7, CNN released a story about the “deplorable conditions” in which the U.S. Army’s Caisson horses were living, which the article stated resulted in the death of two horses. Since the story was released, the EQUUS Foundation reached out to the U.S. Army to find out how cash donations could be made to the U.S. Army with the intent of establishing a fund specifically for the ongoing care of the Caisson horses.
On April 26, the U.S. Army replied to the EQUUS Foundation stating, “We will share this generous offer with our legal team to review” and also stated, “Right now we are in the process of assessing a variety of options to improve the living conditions for our horses.” The letter was sent from the Public Affairs Team of the 3rd US Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard).
The letter also revealed that on February 14, The Old Guard commander requested an external assessment and inspection of the Caisson stables in response to the recent deaths of two horses. The letter explained, “As a result of the inspection, Public Health Command-Atlantic veterinarians generated a report on March 3, 2022, that outlined several deficiencies and recommended corrective actions.”
The U.S. Army implemented a number of the recommendations immediately and is currently “working with an array of Army partners to develop an enduring plan to address long-term issues related to facility upgrades and grazing areas, which the Army has already approved funding for.”
The EQUUS Foundation put out an additional statement on May 16 stating, “The EQUUS Foundation has since been advised that the U.S. Army is unable to accept cash donations.”
Meanwhile, the Army has begun recruiting for a Caisson Manager for the herd of caisson horses in Northern VA. This would be a permanent, civilian position. For more information, see https://www.usajobs.gov/job/653677900.
AHC Supports Old Guard
Following up on a story we published in the June 2022 Equiery about the facility conditions at the 3rd U.S. Infantry, “The Old Guard,” the American Horse Council issued a statement on June 13 in support of funding efforts for upgrading the stables. The 60-plus horses of The Old Guard are rotated between a stable at the Fort Myer Army base and a 6-acre pasture complex at Fort Belvoir Army base, both located in Virginia.
AHC reported that they were able to speak with 1LT Carlin Keally, U.S. Army Caisson Platoon Leader, and Major Shahin Uddin, Director of Communications with The Old Guard. Keally and Uddin indicated that the matter of the horses’ welfare has been addressed and stated, a “detailed and systematic approach to improving the facilities and processes surrounding the care of the horses” has been developed. They also stated that an additional $2 million has been allotted to the Old Guard for facility improvements.
AHC stated, “We offered both officers our continued support should they need anything to help them bring these improvements to fruition.” AHC added that they found out that funding has been held up in the
Department of Defense. “AHC is urging the equine community to write/call your congressional members to express your support for The Old Guard and encourage them to expedite the funding.”