Fort Sam Houston’s Caisson Section Pays Tribute to Fallen Soldiers & Veterans

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 A horse-drawn caisson slowly rolls toward a burial site
at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery

It could be an old man who lived a full life. It could be a young man who died too soon.

Better not to know, they say. Do your job, do your best to pay tribute to them.

“This husband, this son has earned the right to have a caisson funeral,” says Sgt. Jason Baldwin.

“We get to take them to their final rest.”

Baldwin was riding Hall, a 22-year-old veteran of these ceremonies, a horse that knew without being told the route through the painful beauty of Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, with its bright white headstones, to the burial site where the soldier’s family waited.

Fort Sam Houston’s is the only full-time caisson section in the country other than the illustrious Old Guard at Ft. Myer at Arlington Cemetery.

It doesn’t share the same high profile, but it has the same charge: to convey departed soldiers to their final resting place in a rite with deep roots in military tradition.

In this age of modern warfare, there is something comforting in the fact that the Army still has a need for horses.

On this day, when the hearse arrived, the men straightened up in their saddles, their backs erect and their faces grave. The horses shifted their feet and arched their necks, sensing their job was about to begin.

Baldwin trotted out on Hall and saluted as he passed the hearse, then turned to face the caisson.

A six-man military honor guard removed the flag-covered casket from the hearse, gently carried it to the caisson and secured it to its bed.

Baldwin swung Hall around and began to walk. The caisson moved forward.

There was a rhythmic clop-clop-clop of horses’ hooves, jangling of the harness chains and creaking of wheels as the caisson section made its steady, solemn progress.

When the group arrived at the burial spot, the honor guard removed the casket and carried it to the bier (elevated platform).

The caisson moved on. There would be taps and gunfire and a eulogy, but the men on the horses wouldn’t be there for it. Their job was done.

If there is one thing the soldiers of the Fort Sam Houston caisson section are sure of, it’s that what they do has a place in today’s world.

“This is not a regular job, this means something to me. I’ve been to Iraq, I know what happens,” Baldwin says. “I love being able to give honor to those who have fallen or have returned and done their part.”

The Army itself even changed the lyrics of its official song from the original “And the caissons go rolling along” to “And the Army goes rolling along.”

But at Fort Sam Houston, nine soldiers, eight horses and a stable master make sure that a caisson does still roll — for those who served their country and those who paid the ultimate price doing so.

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Horses In History: Fauerbach Brewery Madison, Wisconsin 1890

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 Fauerbach’s Brewery was Madison’s first brewery in 1848 and run by Peter Sprecher until bought by Peter Fauerbach in 1868.

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 The Fauerbach ad is depicting a young woman and the brewery.

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Fauerbach Brewery building was built by Peter Sprecher in about 1860.

This brick building was later replaced in the 1890’s by Peter Fauerbach. The building housed a Tasting Room and offices for the brewery business.

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In April 2007, the Fauerbach Brewery of Madison, Wisconsin celebrated their 120th Anniversary with the following announcement.

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Fauerbach Celebrates 120th Year of Brewing: April 7, 2007

5th Generation Brewers of Fauerbach Amber and Fauerbach Export –  “The Favorite Since 1848 “Madison, Wisconsin

Circulation: Marketed in Western and Central Wisconsin, Southern Wisconsin, Northern Illinois and Chicago

Budweiser Clydesdales To Strut Their Stuff At Grass Valley’s Draft Horse Classic Event

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Nevada County’s Draft Horse Classic has been selected for a visit from the Budweiser Clydesdales and their red, white and gold beer wagon, known to millions from their appearances in television commercials.

The Budweiser Clydesdales will make several appearances at the 21st annual Draft Horse Classic and Harvest Fair, running from Thursday September 20th through Sunday the 23rd at the Nevada County Fairgrounds, in California.

Clydesdale Operations in St. Louis schedules the popular teams, picking from the thousands of requests received for the big horses every year.

The Draft Horse Classic, held each fall at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley, California has become one of the most highly regarded draft horse shows in the nation.

The Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company has acknowledged the event’s importance by sending their big horses to visit.

Once a destination is decided upon, three 50-foot tractor trailers transport the team and its colorful wagon to waiting fans.

The big horses ride on thick rubber flooring in trailers with air-cushion suspension. Cameras in the trailers and monitors in the cabs let handlers keep a watchful eye on their precious cargo. The team stops each night for rest at a stable.

There are five traveling hitches of Budweiser Clydesdales, covering a total of 100,000 miles a year in their special big rigs.

The Budweiser Clydesdales are scheduled to arrive in Grass Valley on Tuesday, September 18th.

The famous horses have represented the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company for 70 years.

Originally from Scotland, the Clydesdale takes its name from that country’s river Clyde. Farmers in the 19th century, along the Clyde’s banks, bred the Great Flemish Horse, forerunner of the Clydesdale.

Their ability to pull loads of more than a ton at a walking speed of five miles an hour quickly spread their reputations beyond Scotland’s borders.

Six performances will present competitions between the most talented drivers and best trained draft horses as the Gentle Giants perform crowd-pleasing maneuvers in pairs, three, and four abreast.

They’ll skid logs, pull classic antique farm wagons, and demonstrate how the draft horse started American farming.

Performances start Thursday evening, September 20th at 6:30 p.m. Following performances are Friday, September 21st at 6:30 p.m.; Saturday, September 22nd, 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.; and Sunday, September 23rd at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The Budweiser Clydesdales will impress draft horse fans with their tremendous teamwork in all of the evening performances and in the Sunday late afternoon performance.

News Link:

Link:  Grass Valley, California Draft Horse Classic

Budweiser 180 degree team rotation demo

Horses In History: Philadelphia 1897

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Colonial Williamsburg’s Rare Breeds Keep History Alive

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 American Cream Draft Horses

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Colonial Williamsburg’s Rare Breeds program was begun in 1986 to preserve genetic diversity in livestock.

Some of the selected breeds represent animals that could have been present in Williamsburg during the 18th century according to historical research.

Rare is defined as having fewer than 1,000 animals registered annually in North America.

The breeds in the foundation’s program –American Cream Draft horses, the Leicester Longwool sheep and America Milking Red Devons – have fewer than 200 animals registered annually in North America.  Also included are the Canadian horses.

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The American Cream Draft Horse

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The only modern breed in the program also is the rarest – just over 500 still exist in North America. American Cream Draft horses are the only breed of draft horse originating from the United States and are now bred here.

Breed characteristics include a medium cream-colored coat, pink skin, amber eyes, long, white mane and tail and white markings. These horses mature late at five years old and have an excellent temperament.

Mares stand from 15 to 16 hands and weigh 1,500 to 1,600 pounds. Males stand 16 to 16.3 hands and weigh 1,800 pounds and up.

American Creams pull wagons and carriages throughout Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area.

Canadian Horses

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Colonial Williamsburg’s most recent addition to the Rare Breeds program, Canadian horses were developed from horses sent from France to Quebec between 1665 and 1670.

They stand 14 to 16 hands. Mares weigh 900 to 1,300 pounds and males weigh 1,000 to 1,400 pounds. Canadians were used for farm work, transport, riding and racing.

Canadian horses are solid and well-muscled with a well-arched neck set high on a long, sloping shoulder. Canadians are primarily black or reddish brown with full manes and tails.  They are energetic without being nervous and are adaptable for a variety of riding and driving disciplines.

Originally imported from Canada, Canadian horses now are bred in Colonial Williamsburg

Leicester Longwool Sheep

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A long, healthy, lustrous coat which falls in ringlets, ease of feeding, valuable meat supply and quick maturation are the sheep’s breed traits. Leicester (pronounced “lester”) Longwools originated in Britain and were used as a pioneer breed.

Their use extended to America, Australia, New Zealand and other colonies settled by the Crown.

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Today they are quite rare in Britain and North America, but they can still be imported from Australia. Their wool is sold to hand spinners, weavers, felters and dollmakers for hair and beards.

The original herd of Colonial Williamsburg’s Leicester Longwool sheep came from Tasmania, but now the sheep are bred here.

Milking Shorthorn and Randall Oxen

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Trucks, tractors and bulldozers of the 18th century; oxen are cattle trained to work. In Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area, there are two breeds: Milking Shorthorns and Randalls.

Milking Shorthorns originated in England, can be red or white, and are used for milk, meat, and work.

Randalls were bred in a closed herd by a Vermont family of the same name for 80 years. They are also called linebacks, due to the white line that runs down their backs.

Both breeds are rare, classified as a watch breed and a critical breed, respectively. Oxen Emmitt, Gage, Rusty, Red, Bart, Bud, Timer and Tuck can be found working in Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area and at Great Hopes Plantation.

American Milking Red Devons

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Diversity is the trademark of this breed. Their milk contains a high butterfat content – prized in the 18th century for butter and cheese production.

They are very intelligent and are good work animals that are easy to feed. Their milk is used in the Historic Area Foodways program.

Descended from the Red Devon breed native to Devonshire, England, American Milking Devons now are bred here.

Story Link: Colonial Williamsburg Rare Breeds