The Horse Platoon was activated in Berlin, Germany, on October 1, 1945 with men and horses from the 78th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop of the 78th Infantry (Lightning) Division.
The Horse Platoon was activated in Berlin, Germany, on October 1, 1945 with men and horses from the 78th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop of the 78th Infantry (Lightning) Division. The horses originally came from a Hungarian cavalry group which was captured by an American airborne unit at Mecklenburg in what now is the Soviet Zone of Germany.
The platoon was integrated in the 16th Constabulary Squadron (Separate) in January 1946. Its primary mission was border patrol and training for possible emergency use in crowd dispersal and riot control. It also was utilized as an honor guard escort platoon and a ceremonial element in reviews and other military events.
The unit was quartered in the southern part of the American Sector at Dueppel stables which had been used by SS horsemen before the war. The area provided excellent training facilities for the platoon's training and a convenient base for its reconnaissance patrol activities.
Original organization of the platoon was one officer, 32 enlisted men and 60 horses. The unit trained in crowd control military formations, dismounted drill equitation and jumping and mounted physical exercises.
When the 16th Constabulary Squadron was deactivated in November 1950, the horse platoon was assigned to the 759th Military Police Battalion. With the deactivation of the 759th in October 1953, the riders and mounts were assigned to the 287th Military Police Company.
Horsemanship was the first sport in which Allies and Germans took part in open competition. At first there were a few Allied horse shows at irregular intervals in which American riders used the horse platoon's horses. Outstanding horsemen in the early competitions were Col. (later Brig.Gen.) Frank L. Howley, Director of U.S. Military Government, Berlin Sector, and Col. Earl Thompson, second-place winner in the 1936 Olympic equestrian competition.
The Berliners showed an increasing interest in these horse shows and took active part when they were able to procure horses of their own after the blockade. They have competed in the periodic horse shows ever since with members of the horse platoon the main American competitors.