Participating in the Republic Day parade since he was four years old, 61st Cavalry's horse Rio will create history as this would be his 18th participation in the ceremony. Anish Singh reports
Participating in the Republic Day parade since he was four years old, 61 Cavalry's horse Rio will create history as this would be his 18th participation in the ceremony.
The 61st Cavalry is the only active serving horse cavalry regiment in the world and Rio will be leading the Indian Army's mounted columns of Cavalry 61.
So far, horses in the regiment were being retired when they crossed the age of 20. However, Rio, at 22, is still active and cantering along.
It is very difficult for animals to pass through the parade when there are camera flashlights and sounds but these horses move fearlessly. As a contingent commander, Rio can't deviate whatever be the scenario.
Capt Deepanshu Sheoran, who is leading the contingent of 61 Cavalry told Asianet Newsable, "Rio respects command. Whatever command I give he will do automatically. He is very much special for us."
After retirement from the service, the horses are housed at Remount Training School in Hempur of Uttarakhand. But for Rio, the Regiment has taken up a case to retain him till he passes away.
"The Regiment was raised on 1st August 1953, with the amalgamation of six state forces. Till date, it has won 39 Battle Honours and stands tall in Equestrian and Polo with one Padma Shri, one Sarvottam Jeevan Raksha Padak, 12 Arjuna Awards, six Vishisht Seva Medals, 53 Chief of Army Staff Commendation, one Chief of Staff Committee Commendation, two Chief of Naval Staff Commendation, eight Vice Chief of Army Staff Commendation, eight Chief of Integrated Defence Staff Commendation and 180 General Officer Commanding in Chief Commendations," Capt Sheoran said.
Besides Republic Day, the regiment is also a show opener at the Army Day parade every year.
The regiment also participated in the battle of Haifa in Israel. Haifa Day is celebrated every year on September 23 to pay tribute to the Indian cavalry regiments of Mysore and Jodhpur, which helped liberate Haifa in 1918. They defeated a combined and much bigger force of Turkish, German and Austrian forces.
During the 1965 Indo-Pak war, the 61st Cavalry was deployed in the Ganganagar sector of Rajasthan and the area of responsibility was nearly a hundred kilometres. Then, no cases of infiltration were reported.
During the 1971 war with Pakistan, it protected the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
Notably, the Regiment also rendered exceptional services to the nation during the course of Operation Pawan in 1989, Operation Rakshak in 1990, Operation Vijay in 1999 and Operation Parakram in 2001-2002.
The motto of the Regiment is 'Ashva Shakti Yashobal' meaning 'Horse Power Is Forever Supreme'.
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Last Updated Jan 24, 2021, 5:30 PM IST