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Friday, September 30, 2011

Fort Sheridan Horse Shows (1925 - 1939)

Between 1925 and 1939, the U.S. Army post at Fort Sheridan hosted horse shows and polo matches. The events were part public relations and part training.

The circa 1930 postcard (above) illustrates one of the more extreme stunts at the Fort Sheridan horse shows. LCDM

Fort Sheridan was established in 1887, and became known as a Cavalry Post with the arrival of the first cavalry regiment in 1892.

Following World War I, Fort Sheridan took on a country club atmosphere. Though troops continued to train, cavalry officers in particular showcased their skill in public horse shows and polo matches.

Horse show grounds overlooking Lake Michigan at Fort Sheridan, circa 1930. Ekmark photograph. LCDM 92.24.983.

A dramatic entrance on the Fort's Parade Grounds for the 14th Cavalry, circa 1925. Ekmark photograph. LCDM 92.24.1887.

Page from booklet for the 1936 Fort Sheridan Horse Show and Military Exhibition. It is interesting to note that civilians also participated in certain events. LCDM 92.24.181.

View of a great jump in cavalry officers' event with judges observing every detail, circa 1930. LCDM 92.24.1337

Cavalry rough rider, circa 1930. Onlookers are so close they could almost reach out and touch the horses! LCDM

The polo teams consisted of cavalry officers and wealthy North Shore residents. Circa 1929. LCDM 92.24.577.

Like military honors, trophies awarded at horse shows were highly valued and lauded. Pictured here is a display of trophies ready for the victors at the Fort Sheridan Horse Show, circa 1930. LCDM 92.24.758

Fort Sheridan Horse Show trophy presented by Fort Sheridan Officers Club. Hunt Class winners for 1927 - 1937. LCDM 92.24.137

The variety of stunts performed at the horse shows amazed and delighted the crowds that gathered. Circa 1930. Photo by 6th Signal Corps. LCDM 92.24.1175.

The museum's Fort Sheridan Collection consists of over 2,000 photographs, dozens of which are of the horse shows and cavalry rough riders. The Fort Sheridan Collection photographs were digitized thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, and are available online through the Illinois Digital Archives.

To request a free brochure on Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve with information on the history of the Fort and site map, please email me at:


Anonymous said...

Fantastic collection of pics ,many thanks , came to it via Huff Post. Greetings from Melbourne Australia

Felicia Dale said...

Fabulous photos! Thank you so much for posting these. I love these examples of excellent technique- the riders are, for the most part, of far higher quality than generally seen these days and to do any of these jumps with only a snaffle bit and no nose band, whip, etc., is truly remarkable. Very impressive! Thanks again.