CALIFORNIA RANGERS

"Through the magic of the kid and the horse"

WHAT IS EXPECTED

Young adults who wish to join must be between the ages of 9 to 18. Children are not permitted to register as a member until the date of their 9th birthday. Cadets are allowed to ride through the calendar year of their 18th birthday, however the following year he/she may retire to the level of Junior Grade Member as an assistant instructor in a noncompetitive position.

Yes. Each Troop has a different ratio of male and female members, but both genders are freely able to join the California Rangers.

Absolutely. Most cadets who join California Rangers have never been on a horse prior to their first ride with our organization. New members will find that most of their piers will be able to help them overcome the nervousness of being on a horse for the first time and will freely share their experiences to assist with the new riders becoming more comfortable working with the horse.

Riding within California Rangers as a member of a team brings an additional level of skill to the already challenging sport of horseback riding. Although there is no requirement for height or weight, young adults should understand that working with the horse can be physically demanding as with any sport. Riders will learn to train their body to cohesively work with the equine, using every part of their body to achieve good equitation. Proper body posture, strong leg muscles and upper body control will quickly be developed to improve the riders horsemanship skills. Mentally the rider will be required to learn and understand verbal military commands, identify and perform military drill formations and calmly and confidently manage their horses behavior with the nightly activities.

There are several costs involved with joining the California Rangers. Although the actual registration is only $20, families should understand the full annual costs involved with participation.

  1. Uniform - the uniform consists of the main military pieces, which are purchased through the California Rangers, and general riding equipment, which can be purchased an any equestrian store. Cadets should first purchase their boots and helmet which must be worn any time a member is on or around a horse. All other pieces of the uniform can be slowly purchased between the time of joining until the cadets first show.


    • Boots can cost anywhere between $50 to $150.


    • A Western Hat can be found for between $35 to $150.


    • A riding helmet can be found for between $55 to $100.


    • Riding pants can cost between $40 to $85.


    • Ties, or riding scarves, and riding gloves may be found for under $20 each.


    • All military uniform pieces (one shirt, pant striping, four hat and collar brass, one hat cord, one citation button, one citation cord, one name tag and one belt) purchased through the California Rangers typically totals to approximately $65.


    • The completed uniform can cost as low as $270 or as high as $590.


    • As some members have been with our organization for quite some time you may get lucky to find cadets have outgrown some of their uniform parts and are willing to donate them to new members.


  2. Weekly and monthly costs: A weekly ride night typically costs approximately $25 which is given to the ranch for the rental of the horse. Each quarter cadets are required to pay "dues" of $30 which goes to the California Rangers to help pay for scholarships which our organization awards, shows, insurance, membership flyers and a number of other organizational costs. Because the California Rangers is a nonprofit organization we rely on fundraising activities and dues to keep our group running. Dues are to be turned in the first ride night of each month, no later.


  3. Shows and the Regimental Ball: There are three shows each year which cadets must pay a $25 Show Fee to help pay for the rental of the horses for the entire day, the trophies and ribbons awarded at the show and the outside judge which judges our classes. The Regimental Ball (an annual semiformal dinner and awards night) which happens once a year at the end of February or the beginning of March costs approximately $50 to pay for each attendee's meal, the rental of the ballroom and the disc jockey for entertainment.


  4. Fundraising: Although fundraising is a cost which we discourage cadets from asking parents to burden it is an essential aspect inthe financial workings of the California Rangers. In order to maintain an advanced competitive team who competes in outside competitions and our scholarship program which benefits the continued education of some of our members itis important address the fundraising which the California Rangers conducts. Each year we hold approximately two candy sales where cadets are expected to sell two boxes of candy bars (Worlds Finest). At each show cadets are expected to find business and individuals who are willing to sponsor our show in return for advertisement in our show programs. There are a number of other activities which we explore each year and where cadets are expected to participate.

The California Ranger military uniform is based on the original mounted cavalry uniform and consists of riding boots, riding pants, a gold military shirt, western hat and riding helmet as well as the various military brass, insignias and ribbons which adorn the shirt. The uniform should be worn to all ride nights and all official California Ranger activities. During the summer months cadets are permitted to wear short sleeved versions of the winter military shirt and the tie is not worn. At shows cadets must have a perfectly polished uniform and will wear the citation cord which is worn over and under the left arm and gloves to complete the dress uniform.

To give you an example of what a typical ride night contains we will take you from the beginning to the end of an average night.

  • At 5:45pm cadets are called to attention upon arrival and fall in to military inspection positions. The troop will be arranged into these positions based on the number of cadets included in the troop. The cadets uniforms may be inspected, they may be questioned and monthly dues and ride fee's may be collected at this time. Nightly role call will be conducted to determine that all members are present and accounted for.


  • The troop then goes to collect their horses and depending on the ranch cadets may or may not be expected to saddle their own horses.


  • The cadets then lead their horses into the riding arena and fall into their inspection positions and make sure their tack is fitted to their horses and ready for riding.


  • When all of the cadets have entered the arena the Troop will begin mounted assembly where the troop stands at attention, counts off their numbers in attendance and reports to the Troop Commanders they are ready for duty.


  • The squad then formally separates for mounting, mounts their horses and finally returns to their original inspection positions.


  • The cadets then fall out on the rail as designated by the cadet or officer in charge to begin warming up their horses. Typically older more experienced cadets will be paired up with younger or new riders to assist with the instruction on a closer more controlled level. During warm up the entire troop will be instructed on basic equitation skills and given advice on how to improve each riders individuals skills and problem areas. The whole troop will work through various speeds or gaits of the horse and eventually will learn to ride with and without their irons or stirrups.


  • The troop will then move on to basic drill maneuvers in sets of two's, fours and squad practicing circle, turns and other various formations as a team. During this time cadets will work on ways to improve their more advanced horsemanship skills as well as their equitation.


  • Finally, the troop will form their competitive drill squad of 8 members who will practice the drill which they will perform at the next show. Those cadets who are not members of the drill squad will continue practicing their equitation and basic drill skills to improve their level of knowledge so that should they be called upon to become a member of the drill squad they will be prepared. Approximately ten minutes to 8pm the cadets are told to fall back into formation and dismount their horses. The cadets then loosen the saddles and walk off the horses to cool them down before they return to pasture.


  • The cadets then remove the saddles from the horses and put them away then return the horses to pasture for the night.

  • Members then go back to the official meeting area and fall in to inspection formation again ready for the troop meeting. All members say the Pledge of Allegiance and the California Ranger Pledge followed by a meeting where the troop commanders and cadet commanders will discuss the troops progress and address important issues regarding upcoming events.


  • Some troops assign treats to be brought by a different cadet each week, others collect a fund which is used to buy treats, and still others do not do treats following the ride.


  • The cadets are finally dismissed to go home with their parents.


Each troop rides only one night a week. Some larger troops may need to divide the cadets into drill squad and non-drill squad riders who ride on different days when it comes closer to show time, but it is the goal to have all cadets ride together on a regular basis. Cadets who wish to help out with other troops who are lacking in members are encouraged to ride in addition to their own troop night, but may not ride in exchange for their own troop night. For those more skilled cadets who are accepted into the advanced team of rider who represent the organization in outside competitions (known as the Eagle Troop), they will be expected to ride at their own weekly troop night in addition to whatever practice rides the advanced troop has designated (typically only once a week between the months of January to September).

No. As an active member of the California Rangers cadets are required to attend every weekly ride as well as all activities such as shows and meetings. Although our organization teaches young adults how to ride horses the California Rangers should not be considered a form of "private lessons" which can be scheduled at the leisure of the rider. Membership requires consistent participation in all aspects of the organization.

Of course, in fact it is recommended that you encourage friends to join with you. This sometimes helps new members feel more comfortable with the new learning environment by having someone they already know with which to share the experience. Although new members are bound to make new friends in their troop it is always nice to have someone familiar with them. Some troops permit guests to ride during less competitive periods of the year (typically January through March and June through July), however these guests must respect the same rules and requirements as any other guest rider who intends to join the organization. Keep in mind that when recruiting a friend to join the California Rangers with a new member both families should be completely familiar with the responsibilities which come with membership.

Because the California Rangers is a team sport the dedication of each of its' individual members effects the success and development of each troop as a whole. There are various awards and honors given to the troop as a entity for their exceptional performances in inspection, academic knowledge, equitation and even Troop of the Year. Troops which do not have a consistent commitment from all of its' members have a lesser chance of winning these awards and may suffer as a whole because of the faults of a few. The personal skills and development of an individual cadet is also greatly effected by lack of attendance and commitment. The average cadet rides only 70 hours per year, which calculates out to less than 6 hours per month. Missing just one ride can greatly effect the skills a cadet acquires while riding and reduces potential for advancement. The more time on the horse the more confident and more skilled a rider becomes.

There are three primary levels of organization within the California Rangers; the Troop, the Post and the Regiment.

  • There are eight "troops" in the California Rangers. The "troop" is the group of cadets and officers which make up each separate ride night individually. Each troop practices once a week on a different night from each other. Each troop is run by a different Troop Commander (which typically holds the rank of Captain) and contains a different population of cadets from one another. Based on the NATO phonetic alphabet which was developed after World War II by the Allied Armed Forces to help internationalize the current identifying alphabet for aircraft communications, each troop within the California Rangers is given a lettered name for identification. The current eight troops are: A (Alpha), B (Bravo), C (Charlie), D (Delta), E (Echo), H (Hotel), L (Lima) and Q (Quebec).


  • The "post" is the collection of several troops which ride at a common location and all report in to one Post Commander (who typically holds the rank of Major) which supervises the development and work of all of those troops as a whole. There are two posts in the California Rangers, each ride at a different ranch and each contains four troops which ride Monday through Thursday. Post I rides in the San Fernando Valley and Post II rides in the Santa Clarita Valley.


  • The "regiment" is a collection of more than one post and is the descriptive name for a military unit. All posts and their included troops report ultimately to the ruling regiment and its' Regimental Commander (who holds the rank of Colonel). There is currently only one regiment in the California Rangers.

Each individual troop is run by one Troop Commander who is an adult Senior Officer which typically holds the rank of Captain. Some troops have several officers which help run the nightly activities and provides additional supervision for the troop. In addition to the Troop Commander there may be a Troop Executive Officer, which is the second Senior Officer in command, a Troop Adjutant, which manages the money and financial activities of the troop, as well as Staff Officers who assist as needed.

The cadets, or youth members, which make up the competitive body of the troop are organized into various levels of ranks according to their ability, tenure and leadership skills. The youth leader who is in charge of the entire troop is known as the Cadet Commander (typically holds the rank of Lieutenant or Captain); there can be only one Cadet Commander per troop.

A platoon is a unit within the troop which contains a squad of cadets and the sergeants which supervise the squad. The platoon is managed by a Platoon Leader who is the second highest ranking cadet in the troop; they typically hold the rank of Lieutenant and ride in front of the squad during drill with the troop flag. There are three levels of sergeants within the troop which help run the nightly activities. The highest sergeant is known as the First Sergeant who commands and runs the formation of assembly; there can be only one First Sergeant per troop. The second highest sergeant is the Platoon Sergeant who is in charge of the squad and it's leaders included within the platoon. The last sergeant in the troop is the Stable Sergeant. This sergeant is in charge of all tack and equipment and watches for safety hazards which may occur within the troop.

The squad is typically made up of 8 cadets of various learning ranks. The squad is supervised by the Corporal which rides fourth from the left (in a full squad this would be fifth position from the right). The Corporal makes sure his/her 8 cadets are all performing according to the commands and assists with their instruction to insure the squad is running smoothly and efficiently. The Corporal is assisted by the Lance Corporal who rides in the right most position and is in charge of the three cadets to his/her left. The Lance Corporal and the Corporal should work as a team to support and command their squad. The six other cadets placed within the squad may be of any rank from Remount (which is the beginning rank), Trooper (which has gained the knowledge to become a working cadet within the squad) and Trooper First Class or TFC (who has shown an above average level of working ability).

There is a standard procedure for reporting problems and concerns within the troop. The cadet reports to the Corporal or squad leader. The Corporal reports to the Platoon Sergeant. The Platoon Sergeant reports to the First Sergeant. The First Sergeant Reports to the Platoon Leader. The Platoon Leader reports to the Cadet Commander who ultimately reports to the Troop Senior Commanding Officer.

No. Choosing a troop can be a very important decision as that should be the troop you stay with throughout your entire tenure with the California Rangers. Due to the annual competitions, troop awards and military ranking system cadets are required to be dedicated to their individual troop alone. Team building and a type of family morale is essential to the establishment of a successful troop. Cadets that would be a member of more than one troop would cause a conflict of interest and defeats the team spirit of each individual troop. Cadets are welcome to assist other troops when in need as well as create bonds with members from other troops while still dedicated to their primary troop of competition. If a member desires additional time on the horse, he/she can be encouraged to take outside private lessons or some other form of equestrian participation.

"Ranks" are the levels of achievement each of the members of California Rangers has earned. Just as in the military, each member is assigned a rank according to his/her abilities, duties, tenure and leadership skills. All new youth members start out as a Remount. The Remount is the beginning rank who is studying the basic military sciences and horsemanship skills that make up the California Rangers. When a Remount has proven he/she can ride without direct constant supervision at all gaits/speeds of the horse and has gained the most basic of knowledge about the horse and our organization he/she will take their first test in order to become a Trooper. Upon passing this test he/she will be able to wear the Trooper patch which all ranks then wear in addition to further rank insignias. As cadets become better riders and pier leaders they will be promoted according to their ability and available ranks within the troop. No cadet may skip more than one rank at any given time and it is typical for cadets to remain at any a particular level for an extended period, especially within a troop which has a great number of members. Each rank earned should be respected by the cadets piers. The higher ranks earned for those cadets who have exhibited an exceptional level of leadership skills not only comes with a greater level of respect but also a greater level of responsibility and duties within the troop.

There are three competitions for each cadet per year (with a total of five competitions in the entire regiment). Each post has their own competitions twice a year where the four troops in that post compete between each other in areas of drill, inspection, individual equitation and sets of two and four riders. These two shows per post occur typically in May and October of every year. Cadets are expected to attend only the show for his/her post. At the end of the year, typically the first Sunday in December, the entire regiment (compiled of both posts) compete as a whole with every troop competing against each other. These internal shows always occur on a Sunday and have been known to run from between approximately 7am to 5pm. The individual equitation classes in which each cadet competes during the two post shows throughout the year serve as qualifying classes where cadets who earn ribbons are assigned points. The cadets with the highest points earned throughout the year have then qualified to ride in the appropriate equitation class at the Regimental Show at the end of the year. Cadets may find that they must ride in more than one class at any give show, or that they have not qualified to ride in the Regimental Show and will attend to support his/her fellow troop members. Most troops hold a "show preparation meeting" the Saturday before each show to review inspection questions, confirm uniforms have been properly assembled and provide one last summary of drill and equitation notes cadets should remember for the upcoming show.

California Rangers teaches about all aspects of the horse as well as military sciences. In addition to learning how to ride, members also learn about how to care for the horse, common diseases, feeding, shoeing, proper housing, fire safety, first aid as well as many other elements which teaches the horse person to recognize the equines needs and prepares any rider for owning their own horse. As the California Rangers is also a military organization it is essential for cadets to understand the duties of the various ranks, the meanings of drill formations, uniform ribbons which are awarded, the commanding officers as well as a variety of other military sciences pertaining to our organizations history, development and day-to-day maintenance.

The Regiment as a whole holds several functions outside of the weekly practices and annual shows. Some of these events are fun and some are functional.

Every year the regiment holds an annual awards dinner called the Regimental Ball. This semiformal ball is held as close to our date of incorporation as possible on February 25th, 1944. The ball is always held on a Saturday evening in late February or early March. California Rangers also holds a Regimental Picnic in the summer months. At this event all troops gather together for a fun day of food and games in a casual atmosphere. There are also a number of other various fundraisers and events such as "Day At The Races", "Bunko Parties", car washes, membership drives and much more.

Every month the regiment holds a Board Meeting; some of these meeting are open to parents and officers and some are considered executive sessions which only board members may attend. Twice a year the regiment holds a Semiannual General Membership Meeting where parents and cadets may attend to better understand how our organization is run and hear about upcoming events which will pertain to them. At this time board members are voted to term and various activities are voted on and approved for implementation. Only Senior Officers and Associate Members may vote for board members, so if you have an opinion lobby you local officer to have your word heard.

Lastly, once a year the regiment holds a day of promotions testing and an Academic Decathlon, typically held in November. The promotions testing for all ranks above that of Trooper is held only once a year and conducted by the Regimental Military Science Officer. Cadets should study well in advance to their test as they only get one chance a year to be promoted. Promotions will then be announced at the Regimental Show at the end of the year. The Academic Decathlon is where cadets compete in a game format to prove their knowledge and may earn a uniform ribbon should he/she gain the highest score in his/her rank.

Each troop is run a little differently, therefore individual troop events will vary from troop to troop and post to post. Some have field-trips to fun locations, gather to collect sponsorships together, hold study parties, etc. It is a good idea to talk to the Troop Commanders prior to joining any given troop to determine if that troop has individual required events which may conflict with your regular schedules or that you may find more appealing.

Members who need to take time off for finals, sick days or vacations should contact his/her Troop Commander well in advance of the leave. There is a vacation form which cadets may download from this web site to turn in to his/her Troop Commander so the troop has a record of time off. If a member needs to take an extended leave of absence of more than three weeks that cadet must turn in a letter for excuse of absence. If the leave of absence occurs during a time of competition or promotion that cadet must be prepared to loose his/her position in drill or possible promotion to a cadet who has maintained his/her attendance within the troop system. Any cadet who has attended at least one ride within a calendar month must pay dues for that month. Members must be active riders the full four weeks prior to any show in order to compete in the upcoming show. Sick days and vacations are expected for every cadet, but cadets should understand that just because he/she is not there that doesn't mean the troop stops. Troops ride every week (except on holidays and when rained out), no matter the number of cadets who attend the troop will continue the lessons of the week and those cadets with consistent attendance will most likely advance quicker than those who take regular time off.

Although it is expected that all cadets work towards the goal of riding in the troops' drill squad, it is understood that every member develops confidence and abilities at his/her own speed. Cadets are required to learn all basic drill maneuvers which is essential to the unique horsemanship of the California Rangers. Larger troops typically have a more competitive environment for the 8 cadet drill squad where the best and most consistent riders within the troop will qualify to ride in the squad. Smaller troops typically need to use every cadet they can to fill their drill squad allowing for all levels of cadets to participate. Troop Commanders will never allow a cadets safety to be compromised within a drill. For larger troops this means that cadets who are not ready to be in an advanced drill will continue working on their individual skills until they are ready. For smaller troops this means that the drill which is performed will be adjusted to the level of horsemanship within the squad so that younger, less confident cadets are not expected to perform anything above their current skill level. It should be understood that cadets will be given challenges according to his/her level of skill and encouraged to advance on a regular basis. Challenges are often met with reluctance and lack of confidence but it is the duty of the Troop Commanders and Cadet Commanders to behave with patience and reassurance to instill the proper knowledge and confidence a cadet needs to excel.

No. In each troop the only cadet who rides with a flag is the second highest cadet known as the Platoon Leader. Cadets who have advanced in their horsemanship skills and qualified to ride in the advanced drill team known as the Eagle Troop will then be taught to ride with a flag. The Eagle Troop which represents the California Rangers in state and regional competitions rides with two squads of eight each and with all riders carrying a flag. Four riders carry the American, California State and two California Ranger flags. The remaining twelve riders carry smaller gold and black California Ranger flags.

Yes, any individual who takes on the challenge of riding a horse has the potential to incur an injury. Horseback riding is unlike any other sport as the rider must rely upon the animal with which he/she exercises in performance. Riders must understand the nature of the equine and what drives its behavior in order to effectively control the reaction of the animal which they ride. Horses rely upon the rider as much as the rider relies upon the horse to communicate together creating a confident performance. The horse should be treated with respect as an animal with potential to exercise its free will at any given time. Horsemanship is the skill of caring for horses creating a bond between animal and rider.

Depending on the injury a member may have incurred outside of California Rangers cadets will most likely not be able to ride until a family doctor has deemed it acceptable. If the Troop Commander still feels the cadets safety is in question, after a doctor has approved the ride, the cadet may still be requested to remain off the horse until the cadet has mended to full physical ability. Because horseback riding and the nature of the military procedures of the California Rangers requires complete physical health to execute commands and handle the equine properly certain injuries or impairments may pose a risk to the cadets safety on the horse and in maneuvers. No matter how eager the cadet may be to get back to riding it is always better to completely heal before returning to normal duty.

By no means does any cadet who joins the California Rangers need to own their own horse. Our organization has established relationships with two ranches who provide our cadets with horses to rent on a nightly basis. These horses have been trained to handle a variety skill levels and are accustomed to riding together in one arena. By renting horses from these ranches riders are given the opportunity to learn on different types of horses and all cadets use the same horses as the other troops in the organization, giving an equal learning experience to all member of the California Rangers.

Yes, however only if both the ranch and the Troop Commanders agree that the privately owned horse can work well within the troop and the stable horses without disrupting the nightly activities. Riders with private horses may be required to pay a minor "ring fee" to the ranch for the use of the arena during ride night. Any injury the horse incurs during troop night is the responsibility of its owner and neither the ranch or California Rangers will be held responsible. The cadet using a private horse must be able to fulfill all duties required on a nightly basis, from arriving on time, standing inspection receiving instructions while mounted to performing drill. Private horses may not be used at shows or during the four weeks prior to the show as all competitors must compete on equal grounds.

It is not recommended that cadets use private equipment on ranch horses. Depending on the ranch, the owners may have saddles or bridles assigned to certain horses or the animals may require special padding or bits. It is more efficient and safe for the horse to use the equipment provided by the ranch.

Fantastic question! Most parents find that they would like to help and participate in any way they can. The first thing parents should know is that unfortunately they can not handle a horse or enter the arena unless they are a Senior Officer. It is also recommended that parents refrain from giving sideline encouragement and instructions from outside of the arena. More often than not cadets find it easier to learn from individuals who are not related to them directly and quite often encouragement from the sidelines can be a distraction from the learning process. So if you have a need to get in uniform and help out inside the arena then you should apply for adult membership. For parents who would rather leave that to the officer volunteers and wish not get dirty there are a number of ways parents can help out. You can bring treats, create learning tools for the troop members to study from, help out at shows with the snack bar, help organize field-trips or uniform parties. Anything that is not deemed an official California Ranger activity and supports the individual cadets can be organized by the parents. Without the enduring support of the parents, the California Rangers would greatly suffer. The parents are our cheerleaders in time of defeat, our calming voice in times of stress and our approving smiles in times of success.

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