Oldest cavalry unit in U.S. faced elimination under Gov.’s proposal
Thanks to Avon lawmakers, the historic and revered First Company Governor’s Horse Guard will not be disbanded, as originally proposed by the governor in his budget.
During the 2017 legislative session, the Avon state delegation championed efforts to protect $180,000 in funding for the care and operation of the Governor’s Horse Guard units. This funding will not only allow the state to continue to care for the horses and maintain the facilities, but it will also preserve the land in Avon.
“I visited the Horse Guard with my daughters months ago and saw firsthand the devotion of its members and the valuable contributions they make not only to Avon, but to the entire state. I’m pleased the Avon delegation was able to work together in true bipartisan fashion to save this resource,” said state Rep. Derek Slap, (D-West Hartford.)
“Restoring funding for the Avon Horse Guard is about protecting our history, preserving local programs, and recognizing the importance of so many people’s service to our state and nation. The Horse Guard hosts programs for youth and active duty soldiers and has been a part of our community for hundreds of years. I applaud my fellow lawmakers on both sides of the aisle for working well together to make sure this funding was preserved in the bipartisan state budget,” said Deputy Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Kevin Witkos, (R-Canton.)
“I’m pleased that I was able to work with my legislative colleagues from Avon to preserve such an important piece of our local and state history. The Governor’s Horse Guard has held the distinct honor of participating in governmental, as well as private services and ceremonies. I’m thrilled that this time-honored tradition will remain a part of our state’s history for years to come,” said State Rep. Tim LeGeyt, (R-Canton.)
“The Horse Guard has a long and rich history in CT, and particularly Avon where it’s been part of our Community, and a staple property along West Avon Road for more than 60 years,” Avon Town Manager Brandon Robertson said. It’s run by many dedicated volunteers who have a passion for both its historic preservation, and their mission as the oldest serving U.S Calvary unit in the Country. We are grateful for the strong support of Representatives Slap, LeGeyt, and Senator Witkos.”
The First Company Governor’s Horse Guard in Avon, established in 1778, is the oldest active continuously mounted cavalry unit in the U.S. Currently, the membership is about 80 active troopers and staff veterans. Ten horses are ridden and cared for.
Through much of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the horse guard provided dignified escorts for governors, presidents, military heroes and other dignitaries such as George Washington, James Monroe and Andrew Jackson. Now the units not only participate in presidential and gubernatorial inaugurals but also civic projects, youth drug prevention programs, parades and other ceremonial events. *
The Second Company, in Newtown, was started in 1808. The two companies, which are owned and maintained by the state, are under the Connecticut National Guard.