The California Rangers are made up of two posts (Post I and II), each having four troops. The two posts make up the First Regiment of Cavalry. There are between 10 and 20 young Rangers in each troop. Each troop rides one night a week between 6:00 and 8:00 pm. The Rangers wear their uniforms at each ride and are inspected prior to the ride. Each troop participates in two post shows (Spring and Fall) and in the Regimental show (December), where both posts come together for a competitive ride.
At the weekly rides troops generally practice equitation (individual riding skills) and their troop drill. Equitation is taught using authentic U.S. cavalry McClellan Military Saddle. Cadets are taught a modified riding style that incorporates the English and Western styles. The drill consist of several maneuvers and last up to eight minutes.
The Ranger uniform is similar to the one worn by the 1800's U.S. cavalry. A gold-yellow shirt, with brass insignias and citation cord. Later as promotions are earned black and gold military chevrons are added, along with the California Ranger patch. Award ribbons for different categories are worn above the left and right shirt pockets. Pants are black with a yellow stripe down each leg. Boots are black knee high English riding boot. Topping off the uniform is a black western hat with a gold hat cord with acorns and a brass insignia (for Standing Inspection and Parades) or a riding helmet with a black cover and brass insignia.
At competitive events, an outside judge grades each rider in equitation and selected California Ranger officers judge the drill commands. In addition to equitation and drill, they may also compete in smaller team riding: Two riders called Two's, three riders called Three’s, and four riders called Four's. Also included in this smaller team riding is competition based on rank. For example "High and Low Two's" would be two riders; the highest ranking Ranger paired with one of the lowest. "Open Four's" would be four riders of any rank.
Like the 1800's cavalry, the Rangers have enlisted and officer ranks. Rangers are promoted to higher ranks based on riding development, academics, and leadership development. The Rangers provide a handbook that outlines what is necessary to achieve the different ranks. For example a new Ranger (Remount) would work toward achieving the first awarded rank of "Trooper"; which is learning the basic riding skills and military disciplines.
In addition to competition within the California Rangers, we compete in outside equestrian events. We have earn such accolades as first place champions for California State Junior and Senior Drill Team, California State Junior Color guard, Western States Junior Drill Team, National Equestrian Trail, Inc; and have participated in a Presidential Inaugural Parade, city parades, community events, and Special Olympic events.
California Rangers is best suited to young people who like to ride and like the outdoors, but is not just a riding class. Each member must strive to work up through the ranks as he or she is learning horsemanship and drill maneuvers. This competitive opportunity within the military structure results in the development of leadership ability, self respect and both mental and physical discipline. Each member develops respect for officers, respect for personal discipline and that of the troop, and the personal ability to accept responsibility.