Local teen rides in Inauguration Day parade
A local teen and equestrienne is riding in today’s presidential Inauguration Day parade in Washington, D.C.
Emily Cefalu — a senior at Culver Girls Academy in Indiana and daughter of Paige and Christopher Cefalu of South Lake Tahoe — is one of 24 female equestriennes riding with 56 members of the Culver Military Academy Black Horse Troop.
This is the 17th inaugural parade for the Black Horse Troop and the eighth for the Culver Girls Academy Equestriennes.
This year also marks the 104th anniversary of the Black Horse Troop’s first ride down Pennsylvania Avenue. The mounted unit was the official escort for Vice President Thomas Marshall during Woodrow Wilson’s inaugural parades in 1913 and 1917.
“Personally, I cannot even begin to explain how it feels to be given the opportunity to ride in the inaugural parade. Being one of 24 equestriennes carrying on the tradition of Culver’s participation in the inauguration still seems so surreal,” said Cefalu.
“Ever since coming to Culver, I constantly heard about all of the men and women who have ridden in the parade before me, and since then I have dreamed of my own inaugural experience.”
Cefalu said the training leading up to the event was rigorous.
“Starting about seven weeks ago, we have had four back to back practices a week that could end up lasting for over two hours each. We have had to desensitize over 80 horses to extreme situations which they most likely have not experienced since the last inaugural, or possibly ever,” she explained.
“We have had to ride with the lancer band trailing behind us, we have a soundtrack that would play sirens and other noises that we can expect to hear at the parade throughout the barn, and we have ridden through the town of Culver in order to mimic the environment of the inaugural as best as possible.”
But all the hard work and preparation has been worth it.
“I couldn’t be more proud to be representing Culver Academies in the 2017 presidential inauguration,” said Cefalu.
Culver Academies is a boarding school located on Lake Maxinkuckee in Culver, Indiana offering college-preparatory curriculum for students in grades nine through 12.