“Horses carry the history of mankind on their broad backs.” -Lucinda Prior Palmer, Champion British equestrian and journalist, once said, and that history is deeply embedded in the past life of CSU Monterey Bay.
On April 15, 2012, the 2nd Annual Fort Ord Warhorse Day, an event celebrating the role that horses and soldiers played—specifically in WWII at Fort Ord-- took place at the Marina Equestrian Center.
The Marina Equestrian Center is a non-profit organization consisting of boarders and community members which is close to Cal State University Monterey Bay. The Equestrian Center took the place of the Fort Ord Stables that housed 1400 horses of the 76th Field Artillery Regiment.
Margaret Davis, the coordinator of Friends of the Fort Ord Warhorse, said “Fort Ord, and especially the warhorse veterinary buildings at the Marina Equestrian Center, is historically important as the end of the road for US Army horse-fueled warfare, before everything went mechanized. The historical buildings are the last remaining example of WWII-era construction of warhorse infrastructure.” The other 12 remaining barns that housed horses along General Jim Morre Blvd were torn down in 2010.
Fort Ord Warhorse Day 2012 was hosted by Friends of the Fort Ord Warhorse and sponsored by the California Historical Artillery Society, Backcountry Horsemen of California, the US Army Vterinary Corps Historical Preservation Group, Central Coast Community Emergency Response Team, and the Monterey County Sheriff’s Mounted Search and Rescue.
The event presented museum-quality exhibits displaying this history. The event also provided living-history demonstrations of field artillery and mule-train packing from the California Historical Artillery Society and Backcountry Horsemen of California. A high-tech packsaddle intended for the Special Forces was shown and a Leave No Trace talk was given.
Davis also said that “many CSUMB students helped save the Sgt Allan MacDonald Calvalry Trail from being wiped out by the MST/Whispering Oaks bus yard.” Sgt. MacDonald, “one of the last horse cavalrymen,” was present at the event.
Friends of the Fort Ord Warhorse and supporters, all of whom brought this event and other similar events to life, claim to be “dedicated to the recognition and preservation of the history of the Fort Ord Army warhorses and soldiers, for the educational and cultural enrichment of the Monterey Peninsula, its visitors, and the nation” and recognize the importance in remembering the historical and military embedded roots of what is now a university.