Black Horse Troop
In early 1897 Commandant of Cadets Major Leigh Gignilliat began a series of moves to spotlight the fledgling Academy and its programs. His first, and longest lasting, endeavor was his March 1897 proposal to the Culver family to purchase sixteen mounts of the Cleveland National Guard's Black Horse Troop.
May of 1897, Culver's Black Horse Troop made its first formal appearance, serving as Honor Guard for Indiana Governor James Mount at the Grand Army of the Republic Encampment in Richmond, Indiana.
An escort to president's, emperors, kings, and queens, the Black Horse Troop has represented the Culver Academies to the world for more than one hundred years. In recent years, the Troop has presented at one time as many as ninety riders on mounts selected from a stable of more than 110 black horses.
Fifteen times the Black Horse Troop, which boasts the Academies' best horsemen, has journeyed to Washington, D.C., to participate in the Presidential Inaugural Parade, a tradition that began in 1913 with the first inauguration of President Woodrow Wilson. The Troop saluted Wilson again in 1917 and then returned to the nation's capital every four years from Dwight D. Eisenhower's second term in 1957 to George Bush's oath of office in 1989. The Black Horse Troop returned to the inaugural parade in 1997 and has been in all inaugurals since then. Along with the Equestriennes, the Black Horse Troop was invited to and participated in the 2009 Inaugural Parade.
The Black Horse Troop has appeared in more Presidential Inaugural Parades than any other private or public high school contingent. It has had the honor of escorting Queen Elizabeth II of England, the King and Queen of Denmark, and the late Emperor Hirohito of Japan during several royal visits to the United States. The Troop was part of the opening ceremonies at the 1933 World Exposition in Chicago and the 11th Pan-American Games, held in Indianapolis, in 1987. It has traveled countless miles across the country to appear at many prominent national events, including the 1976 Cotton Bowl Parade in Dallas and the 1978 and 2008 Kentucky Derby "Pegasus Parade."