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Old Fort Reno witnesses the rattle of saber and pounding of hooves once again


FORT RENO, OKLAHOMA -- They are mounted regiments and active duty color guards from all over the United States riding on a parade ground long used to horses.

Fort Reno first heard the pounding of hooves and the rattling of savers in 1874 when the fort opened.

The U.S. Cavalry used this post until the end of the horse era in 1948.

"We absolutely love this training location," says 1st Lt. Lucas Sloan.

Sloan's modern 11th Mounted Cavalry Regiment rode in from Fort Irwin, California.

1st Sgt. James Mett's Mounted Color Guard came from Fort Carson, Colorado.

He says, "Most of the soldiers who come down for this competition have been with the team for at least one year."

These troopers have other jobs in the Army, but they come here to compete in jumping, saber and pistol, and combat horsemanship.

Lt. Lucas continues, "The amount of training that goes into the troopers and horses themselves is so strenuous."

Army horses and Fort Reno go hand and hoof here.

Many of the buildings from the fort's early days survive including Barn No. 3.

Around 1900 the Army started using Fort Reno as a re-mount station, breeding and supplying horse for every post from here west.

A tornado in 2013 barely missed the structure.

U.S. Cavalry Association members decided last year to shore it up.

"If we don't get on it now it's going to be lost forever," says U.S. Cavalry Association President Bill Tempero.

As contractors moved old timbers they discovered a trove of hidden antiques.

Tempero and Association manager Wendy Ogden can already sense new life here.

"The feel has changed. The smell has changed," says Ogden.

"It feels alive again," says Tempero. "It truly does."

More and more, Fort Reno looks like it once did.

The U.S. Cavalry rides again.

The 2016 Annual Bivouac and National Cavalry Competition is September 20 - 25.

For more information go to http://www.uscavalry.org