Wild Horse & Burro Program and the United States Marine Corps Color Guard
The U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) first adopted a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) wild horse in 1988 for the Mounted Color Guard, a two-year old horse called “Okinawa”, but their history starts in the late 1960s.
In 1967, the U.S. Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard was formed at the Marine Corps Logistic Base in Barstow, California. Lt. Colonel Robert Lindsley, U.S. Marine Corps retired, purchased four palomino domestic horses from St. George, Utah and the fifth palomino was purchased in the Barstow area. In 1968, the Color Guard was designated an official Mounted Color Guard by the Headquarters Marine Corps and today it is the only remaining Mounted Color Guard in the Marine Corps.
The first parade the USMC Mounted Color Guard attended was in Ridgecrest, California in 1967. After the Ridgecrest Parade, the Mounted Color Guard attended parades in Barstow and Calico, California and in Yermo rodeos. As word spread about the Color Guard, they were invited to ride in parades all over southern California. As their popularity grew, so did the number of riders; at one time they had 18 riders!
In January 1985, the Mounted Color Guard made its first appearance in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, and has been given the extreme honor of the first military unit to lead the parade. Since 1990, the Mounted Color Guard has participated in every Tournament of Roses Parade.
Today the Mounted Color Guard rides wild palomino mustangs adopted from the BLM’s Adopt a Wild Horse and Burro Program. They have five riders and five palomino BLM mustangs in the Guard. Several of these horses were trained by the prisoners in Carson City, Nevada.The USMC Color Guard travels all over the Western United States participating in parades, rodeos, and many numerous events and ceremonies.