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In 1926, the first official Girl Scout Mounted Troop was registered at Fort Leavenworth, KS. It wasn't until 1929 that the second troop was registered, this time in California. There's no denying that there's always been a special relationship between girls and horses, and with Girl Scouting, it's no different. Beyond the residential camp setting, Girl Scouting developed the Mounted Troops to meet the needs and desires of older Girl Scouts to focus on horses. These troops went beyond the corral, competing in equestrian events, performing drill and marching in parades, running special camps to introduce younger Girl Scouts to the world of horses, and showing the public that Girl Scouting was more than cookies.
1931 brought the first official uniform for Mounted Troops. It included a wool dark green riding jacket, green all-wool flannel shirt, tan or dark green riding breaches and gloves.
Line drawing of
blue embroidered on white felt
1918 - 1920
Line drawing of black embroidered on khaki
Line drawing of black embroidered on khaki
Requirements for the 1918 Horsemanship Badge
1. Demonstrate saddling and bridling a saddle horse.
2. Demonstrate riding at a walk, trot and gallop.
3. Demonstrate harnessing correctly in a single harness.
4. Demonstrate driving in single harness.
5. What are the rules of the road as to turning out?
6. What are the rules for feeding and watering a horse, and how do these vary according to conditions?
7. What implements are used for grooming a horse? Show how they should be used.
8. Hitch a horse, using the best knot for that purpose.
9. Know principal causes of and how to detect and how to remedy lameness and sore back.
10. Know how to detect and remove a stone from the foot.
11. Know the principal points of a horse, and the different parts of the harness.
The Girl Scout Mounted Troops did so much more than perform and teach. They also organized trail rides and outings with their horses.
Mounted Troops weren't limited to only those who could afford to own a horse. In fact most Mounted Troops rented their horses from local riding stables.
1939-1962 - design remained the same
Silver Green fabric
Bright Medium Green fabric
Maybe this 1923 book "The Girl Scout on the Ranch" by Edith Lavell inspired some Girl Scouts to join a Mounted Troop.
Light Green Fabric
The official Girl Scout Mounted Troop uniform had long since disappeared by 1955, when this 3" diameter "Senior Patch" was launched. One of 5 "interest" designs, it showed that a specific Senior troop had a focus on being a Mounted Troop.
In 1963 Girl Scouting's Intermediate level divided into two age levels; Junior and Cadette. The Junior level did not have a horse-related badge, beyond what the "Pets" badge had to offer. However, the Cadette level continued the Horsewoman badge, with a bit of an update in the design.
To earn this badge, the Cadette had to learn the basics plus:
Explain safety regulations for riding and equestrian etiquette Know how to select and care for your riding equipment and know how to dress for Western and park riding
Watch a blacksmith shoe a horse
Draw or construct a model stall and tack room
Make an illustrated booklet on the history and development of the horse or collect or take pictures of four leading breeds and tell about their distinctive features and uses
Take part in two: Trail Ride, all-day cross country ride, breakfast or supper ride, horse show, riding drill or demonstration
1960 - The Senior Girl Scout Mounted Troop patch had a makeover, the border color changed and the size decreased to 2 1/4"
Horse Lover Horseback Rider
Horse Fan Horse Rider
1980 - Worlds to Explore
Junior and Cadette Horse related badges
The green background meant that this badge was for Juniors, with little or no experience.
Tan background was meant for Juniors or Cadettes who had some experience. In 1995 Cadettes could no longer earn tan backed badges
1999 - Junior Badges
Girl Scout Mounted Troops reached their peak in the 1950's and declined afterwards. By the 1980's they were beset with insurance coverage woes and the high cost of renting horses and stables, buying feed, gear and veterinary services. Most newspaper mentions during the 1980's were for rummage sales and performances notices done to raise funds.
1980 Worlds to Explore
Cadette & Senior Interest Project Patch
1997 Cadette & Senior Interest Project Award
Nice newspaper image of a Girl Scout Mounted Troop in winter, with their sign on the barn in the background.
This was the last photo of a Girl Scout Mounted Troop I could find in the newspapers, dated 1991. This is the same troop that suffered the barn fire in 1987 (article above).
2012 - Current Junior level badge
Girl Scout Mounted Troops in order of their registration:
1926 - Fort Leavenworth, KS (Organized by Mrs. Vernon Olsmith)
1929 - Oakland, CA (known as the Shongehan Troop)
1930 - Gerber, Tehama Co., CA
1930 - Brooklyn, NY
1932 - Montgomery, AL (organized by Mrs. Vernon Olsmith)
1932 - Minneapolis, MN (known as "Boots & Saddles)
1932 - Jackson, MS
1932 - Birmingham, AL
1934 - Knoxville, TN