The Marines for the Mounted Color Guard are selected for the billet of stablemen due to exuberating the Corps values and ability to present the national ensign in an appropriate manner. Marines come to the stables with little to no experience with ranch operations or horsemanship. However, after many hours working with the civilian horse trainer they develop the ability to ride and maintain a horse as well as operate a ranch effectively.
The horses in the unit are wild mustangs adopted from the Bureau of Land Management's Adopt a Horse and Burro Program. Initially the stablemen would find wild horses on their own and train them. However, the Bodfish chapter of the 1st Marine Division Association helped with initiating the process of adopting the horses through the Bureau of Land Management which eventually became the official process of acquiring horses. Once adopted, the horses are trained to a standard of performance by the horse trainer and an experienced stablemen.
This ceremonial unit gets invited to many different type of events. In January 1985, they made the first appearance in the Tournament of Roses Parade which is one of the largest events they participate in and have the honor of being the first military unit to lead the parade. The Mounted Color Guard also participates in events such as Marine Week, the Mardi Gras Parade, and the Houston Live Stock Show and Rodeo. The Mounted Color Guard is active with public schools participating in static displays, JROTC, and the Young Marines program which helps build community relations.
Nationwide the Mounted Color Guard performs in parades, ceremonies, and rodeos. Since its inception the Bureau of Land Management honored the unit by portraying it on the first edition of its "Wild Horse" trading cards. Throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s they have received numerous awards from the California National Association of Paraders including the Overall Outstanding Equestrian Group, Overall High Point Champion, and Class Champion. However, the Mounted Color Guard no longer competes in competition due to military regulations.
Since being the only mounted color guard in the Marine Corps, it is a very rare but honorable opportunity for Marines to be selected to present the organizational colors and national ensign of the United States of America on horseback.
Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, 2018. Mounted Color Guard. https://www.mclbbarstow.marines.mil/Agencies/Mounted-Color-Guard/