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The cap horse in the photo above is Hank serving the funeral for Gen. Colin Powell, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and US Secretary of State.
Hank retired as a military working equine in 2023 after 10 years of service and was adopted to live his retirement at Compassion Ranch in Central Alabama, cared for primarily by Dr. David Dyson. Hank was diagnosed by the US Army with equine metabolic syndrome so extra effort is needed with his diet, shelter, and exercise, which includes walking in the National Veterans Day Parade hosted in Birmingham in 2023, the first time for a cap horse from Arlington.

The riderless horse presented in funerals and parades is a time-honored tradition made famous by The Old Guard serving Arlington National Cemetery. Many Americans have seen a riderless horse in funerals for U.S. Presidents. The riderless horse is called a caparisoned horse or cap horse. Caparisoned typically refers to wearing a saddle or decorative covering. At Arlington, the Cap Walker leads the Cap Horse, who displays a saddle and boots backward signifying this warrior will never ride again. The cap walker at the Old Guard is a soldier and the horse is a MWE (military working equine). Fort Myer connects to Arlington.

Compassion Ranch and Patriotism in Action honor the tradition of riderless horses used by The Old Guard for Alabama in the Birmingham parade. We teach students when we host programs at the ranch the meaning of horses in ceremonies as well as the Pledge of Allegiance and the character trait, “Patriotism” referring to the Pledge of Allegiance and leading the national movement to create Veterans Day to honor veterans of all wars. Our books Patriotism in Action and Professionalism Under Stress, show and describe The Old Guard, based at Ft. Myer who lead on ceremonial horses, Tomb of the Unknowns, and more.

– Compassion Ranch

Where 40 animals get second chances for life and help inspire students and former students to develop compassion, patriotism, and courage, so citizens will plan and take more action on callings.

Read More about Hank the Tank Here

Hank and Chief Ezell

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About Hope Legacy Equine Rescue

Hope’s Legacy Equine Rescue was founded in 2008 when we took in our first donkey. Since then they have taken in over 450 horses, ponies, mules, and donkeys.

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