The Caisson Unit began research and planning in 2005 with four beautiful Friesian horses donated by Jay and Janet Stingel of Arden, NC. This team was very well traveled. They began their lives in Holland before coming to America via Canada. Once in America the Friesians spent most of their working life on Mackinac Island, Michagan. In 2005 Mr. and Mrs. Stingel donated Kenny, Fetse, Fonger, and Detlif to the State Highway Patrol for service in a newly formed Caisson Unit. The Friesians served us well through 2010. Of the four, Kenny is the only remaining Friesian and was used as a caparisoned, or riderless horse, until his retirement late in 2010. No horse has ever preformed this task with more flare and more dignity than Kenny did.
On July 3, 2008 the U.S. Army 3rd. Infantry Regiment transferred five beautiful black Morgan/Percheron horses to the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. The State Highway Patrol wasted no time in entering into an agreement with the N. C. Trooper’s Association to provide care for the newly acquired Caisson Unit horses. The Army came out to inspect and approve the farm before the transfer was made official and the State Highway Patrol and the Trooper’s Association became the proud owners of Danny, Grant, Brooks, Dunn and Kiwi.
All five served with the 3rd. Infantry for many years at Arlington National Cemetery and helped lay to rest countless American heros. Danny and Grant were selected to be the “wheel team” in President Ronald Reagan’s funeral for their muscular build and easy going nature.
These horses continue to be exposed to sights and sounds that other teams would not dream of such as close proximity to large crowds, marching bands, motorcycles, rifle teams, constant travel, all weather conditions, etc. We are extremely proud to have this piece of American history.
The first team of horses that came to us was a beautiful foursome of Friesians. The Friesians were donated by Jay and Janet Stingel of Arden, NC. Our Friesian team stood approximately 16 to 17 hands high and weighed approximately 1400 to 1800 lbs. They ranged in age from 20-26 years old. The Friesians have a very long arching neck and are usually black in color; they have a very long and thick mane and tail and are widely considered one of the most elegant of all breeds. We felt that made them perfect for this mission.
Our second team of horses came to us from the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry at Arlington Cemetery. They are also special. On July 3, 2008 the Caisson Unit and the State Highway Patrol took possession of five beautiful Percheron/Morgan horses. These horses ranged in age from 8 to 16 years old. They were all black in color and stand between 15-17 hands high. Grant and Danny on this team were also on the team that carried President Ronald Regan’s casket. We were proud to own that piece of American history.The beautiful horses are without a doubt, the heartbeat of the team. Our Percherons range in ages, with our youngest being 12 years old to our oldest being 19 years old. They range in weight from 1500 pounds up close to 1900 pounds. Their heights range from 16 hands up to 17.2 hands.
Nell is our oldest horse and also our longest serving horse. Nell is very gentle and she serves as the CAP horse. (Riderless horse) Nell, along with her sister Kate came to us from South Carolina in 2016.
Kate was retired in 2021 for health related issues. In 2022, she was donated to STAR Therapeutics in Tennessee. She spends her days now bringing smiles to people’s faces who live with certain disabilities or other special challenges.
Nellie and her sister Ellie joined our team in 2018. They came to us from Wisconsin. Nellie is the queen of the pack and we love having her. Ellie was retired from the team in 2020 because of health related issues. Along with Kate, Ellie was also donated to STAR in 2022. Both Kate and Ellie adapted well to their new loving home. Unfortunately, Ellie has since passed away and we’re confident she’s now enjoying life in Horse Heaven.
Ike & Isabelle also joined our team in 2018. They too, came to us from Wisconsin. They have been together for many years, even prior to their beginnings with the Caisson Unit. They are often referred to as boyfriend & girlfriend.
Peggy & Rosie are sisters that came to us from Missouri back in 2020. These girls have the least amount of time on the team, but have been incredible additions.