By Chris McGuinness

Fort Hood Herald

Students at Pershing Park Elementary School got an up-close and personal look at history Friday, with a visit from the 1st Cavalry Division's Horse Detachment.

The school's fourth-graders participated in an informative assembly developed by the detachment titled "Yesterday and Today," in which they learned about the detachment's heritage and its duties and mission today.

"Students study Texas history in fourth grade," fourth-grade teacher Jane Dale said. "This is a way for them to see history come alive instead of just reading it out of a book."

During the presentation, Sgt. Christopher Kabela and Spc. Christopher Abernathy appeared in the school's cafeteria dressed in period-accurate 1800s-era uniforms.

"We love it because the kids are always very excited and have a lot of questions," Abernathy said.

They displayed several pieces of equipment for the students, including an 1878 Springfield carbine, an 1873 Colt revolver, an 1870 light calvary saber and the detachment's saddle.

Kabela said the detachment is still trained to use all the original equipment, and it continues to use the saddle, which has been modified only six times in the last 100 years.

"We try to do everything they did back then," Kabela said. "All of the things we do in our demonstrations come right out of the 1874 training manual."

The detachment's troopers not only learn how to ride and shoot like their historical predecessors, but Kabela said enlisted members are trained to become saddle makers, boot makers and farriers.

The detachment has 36 horses, five mules and an escort wagon.

Kabela said the detachment also participates in parades, ceremonies and hosts demonstrations for the public at Fort Hood at 10 a.m. every Thursday.

Contact Chris McGuinness at or (254) 501-7568.

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