NEWS | April 17, 2019

U.S. Soldiers Support Kuwait Ministry of Defense Equestrian Program

By Sgt. Liane Hatch 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division

Medics and radiology specialists of the 64th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division have seen all types of injuries. They’ve x-rayed fingers, toes, femurs and tibias; they’ve seen fractures, breaks and sprains. They’ve performed x-rays for all types of Soldiers, in all types of settings – from aid stations to field hospitals.

During their deployment to Kuwait, a group of 64th BSB medics and technicians have the ongoing opportunity to work with a different kind of patient altogether, not with Soldiers, but with horses. More specifically, the horses of the Kuwait Ministry of Defense’s Equestrian Center.

Much like the U.S. military, the Kuwait military uses horses in ceremonies and color guards. The Kuwait military also trains its horses for dressage and obstacle jumping competition.

The horses – approximately 50 of them – receive regular veterinary care from both Kuwaiti and American veterinarians. The BSB supports the program by providing the mobile x-ray equipment doctors rely upon to provide accurate and thorough care, and Soldiers to run that equipment.

According to the BSB commander, Lt. Col. Julie Maxwell, the 64th BSB provides the equestrian center with equipment and manning at the request of the Kuwait Ministry of Defense, and supports the mission as an opportunity to strengthen relationships and develop Soldiers.

“We’re here as part of a partner force; it’s a mutually supporting relationship. Any opportunity we have to engage with our partners to build trust strengthens that partnership and the trust between the organizations, which will allow us to work together toward a common goal,” she said. “In addition, it’s great to get the Soldiers using their equipment in a different environment and for a different capability. Any time we can get our equipment out and use it and see it in a different environment, it helps us become experts.”

The Soldiers themselves were eager to help, and to learn and grow in their professions.

“Working with animals is something I never thought I’d get to do in the Army, so it was really cool to get to come out today and work with the horses,” said Sgt. Kelsey Wheatley, a radiology specialist with the BSB. “I definitely learned how to think outside the box – doing x-rays of horses is totally different than doing them for people, so we had to figure out the best way to take an image clearly for the vets.”

Also supporting the Kuwait Ministry of Defense’s equestrian program are Capt. Theresa Hubbell, a veterinarian with Area Support Group – Kuwait, and Soldiers from the 719th Medical Detachment Veterinary Service Support, both stationed at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.