Greenough, rodeo bronco buster, holder of the world championship seven times,
who last year married Sally Rand...."
trick rider and roper, who appeared with Tom Mix, Buck Jones and Gene
Norman D. Cleland, 5th ranking amateur jockey, who ranked 2nd in 1937, is now
in training at the Cavalry Remount Training Center...."
number of experts have come to Republican Flats as selectees in the Department
of Horsemanship at the Cavalry Remount Training Center.... Private Willie
Dritt, four-goal handicap polo player, Andy Fowler, polo player and
steeplechaser, Charlie Bernuth, polo player, Lyman Wright, polo player and
The list also
included Adrian Rourke, a top-ranking polo player and husband of Helen Wills;
Louis Stoddard, an amateur jockey; Bobby Davis, the steeplechase trainer;
Charles von Stade, whose father was president of Saratoga; Sandy Baldwin, a
polo player from Virginia; Ralph Neves, the California jockey; and Delvin
Miller, the harness driver, not to mention Mickey Rooney, Ronald Reagan and Joe
arrived about a fourth of the units were mechanized cavalry. A year later only
one of 25 or so was still horse cavalry. "There was a small pack of
hounds," Mellon says, "and we chased coyotes. It was nice country;
there was lots of grass. Each one of us in horsemanship was in charge of a
stable of 80 horses; a few were fairly good ones. In those days, even after
Pearl Harbor, we were allowed to bring our own horses. I had three hunters
shipped from Virginia."
When Mellon got
his commission he was asked to remain as an instructor in the Department of
Horsemanship in the cavalry school. " Pete Bostwick was in my platoon for
horse instruction," Mellon says. His duties included instructing Bostwick
in the military seat. "I thought that was amusing, because he was the best
amateur steeplechase rider and flat rider in America and England."
Bostwick did not
find Fort Riley amusing in the slightest. He had already become famous, having
won more flat and cross-country races than any other amateur. His first victory
came at 17, after he abruptly left fashionable St. Paul's school in New
Hampshire. He soon was riding regularly on New York tracks, and among his
mounts was a star handicapper of the time named Mate. Moving on to Europe,
Bostwick won 11 of 45 races and finished second or third in 24. He tried three
times to win the Grand National; his best performance came in 1936 when he
finished seventh, only the second American to complete the Aintree course.
" Fort Riley was just two wasted years," Bostwick says of his cavalry
training in riding. "Oh, I played polo weekends sometimes. But I could do
strange to us," says Mrs. Dorothea Wofford, a gracious, soft-spoken woman,
the widow of Colonel John Wofford who trained the U.S. Olympic teams. "We
saw those famous jockeys riding around with short stirrups, their knees up to
their chins, and of course, the cavalry rode with long stirrups." Two of
Mrs. Wofford's sons subsequently became Olympic medalists, and her home,
Rimrock Farm, just outside the military reservation, is at once a repository of
information, relics and cavalry trophies, a secluded meeting place for
distinguished military men, a rest home for overage horses and a working farm
producing fine jumpers and mules.
Oleg Cassini, the
designer, arrived in 1942, prompting social items in the Union about the
activities of his movie-star wife Gene Tierney. Of the life around Fort Riley
Cassini says, "I often think it was like India in the time of the Empire.
There was a group that socialized together, an ingroup of jumpers, famous horse
people who stuck together and created an elite. It was not unpleasant."
Cassini himself was an instructor in the Horsemanship Department, where he had
to reteach former cowboys to ride in the Army way. "One of my jobs was to
prepare horses for the Sunday hunts. All the officers were expected to play
polo or jump. I joined in the hunts and jumped while I was a noncom, and after
I became an officer, played polo. During the war it was difficult to keep
ponies, and the great ones were given to Fort Riley. We had the best polo
ponies in the country and played afternoons all through the week. It was
frowned upon not to participate in this or in jumping."