While the armory's upstairs ballroom hosted posh dinners and galas, the 4,000 seat arena presented an assortment of horse and sporting exhibitions, along with other special events. Before the 1940 Black Horse Troop addition to the armory opened, the 122d Field Artillery Lancers dominated the horse activities.
The Medinah Black Horse Troop's Horscapades show continued until the Illinois National Guard stopped horse related performances and polo matches in 1967. Horse activity would return in 1977 with the new Polo Club of Chicago.
Before the popular Horsecapades was launched in 1952, the Chicago Horse Show exhibited a range of horse related programs. An October 1947 Tribune display advertisement notes that the 4th annual Horse show would be at the Chicago Avenue Armory. Paul Butler was the association's president from its inception in 1943 until 1949. |
|March 24, 1940
The Chicago Black Horse squadron will hold its 10th annual military exhibition and gymkhana Saturday night, in the new Artillery-Cavalry armory, East Chicago avenue at Seneca street.
Included among the events to be held will be a drill by the mounted band in full dress uniform, a polo game between the Black Horse troop and Culver Military academy, enlisted men's jumping for the squadron championship, a precision drill by the dragoons, a demonstration of horsemanship by the Cossacks, and a sham battle between troop machine gunners and armored scout cars.
After the Second World War when the original Black Horse Troop disbanded, a group of veterans resurrected the troop as an American Legion post. In 1951, a new ceremonial and precision group formed as part of the Medinah Shriners.
In 1952, the Medinah Black Horse Troop launched its ongoing Horsecapades program. The stub at the left was used for the program listed below:
April 16, 1955
The Northwest Mounted Black Horse troop will present its third annual Horsecapades tonight and tomorrow afternoon in the Chicago av. armory. It will combine traditional horse show features with spectacular stunts and colorful pageants.
Chuck Monell will ride his fire jumping horse, Flyer, thru two six foot blazing hoops. Beverly Buschbom will present a horse ballet.
May 11, 1958
'Horsecapades' to Play Two Nights
The Chicago avenue armory will be the scene next Friday and Saturday of the Medinah Black Horse troop's "Horsecapades of 1958."
The Black Horse Troop will present its famous musical precision drill. Other entertainment features will include Bud Jones, blind cowboy trick rider and roper; the Rangeland Ballet, doing a square dance on horseback; the Jinks Hoaglan all-girl equestrian revue, and Flyer, a fire jumping horse.
March 20, 1936
The third annual spring horse show of the Lancers of the 122d field artillery will be presented tomorrow night at the regiment's armory.
The battery will give a demonstration of horse drawn artillery maneuvers. A feature of the program will be four chukkers of polo.
The mounted troop of Lancers will close the show with a silent drill, including difficult cavalry movements, concluded by a charge through a hoop of flames.
December 7, 1936
Jeanne d'Arc, believed to be the only surviving horse in the United States which saw service in the world war, made a public appearance last night at the 122d field artillery Lancer horse show at the armory, 234 East Chicago avenue. The 29 year old mare was one of twenty horses returned to the United States by the artillery regiment after the war. She was in service with the Frency army at Verdun, and with American troops at Belieau Wood and in the Soissons, St. Mihiel and Argonne campaigns.
April 10, 1938
The Lancers are National Guardsmen of the 122d Field artillery and members of the headquarters battery of the 58th Field artillery brigade.
Included on the program are the silent drill, jumps through a fire hoop, a polo game, a stake driving contest, a horsemanship competition, a "musical chair race" and a mystery novelty number. In preparation for the exhibition, the Lancers are drilling two extra nights each week.