After coming to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio in 1912, the young brown thoroughbred known as Pat soon became a favorite for the military men to practice training drills and maneuvers. This dedicated affection would save Pat from the end of the cavalry horses, and he would finally be honored with a military grave that still rests the grounds of the post.
During the 1930s, the Army started to dispose of its cavalry horses, either by selling them or destroying them. The beloved horse Pat was saved from death and the stripping of his military rank by soldiers who lobbied Washington to spare him.
After surviving the elimination of the Army horses, Pat lived a life of leisure for the next 20 years. He had his own paddock at Fort Sam Houston that included his own groom and he wore a special blanket decorated with service stripes.
In 1953, Pat died at the old age of 45. He was honored with a military funeral attended by more than 100 mourners and dignitaries who joined in a service that included a eulogy and the playing of Taps.
Pat was buried under a marble grave that stands near the post entrance at Cunningham Street. Four horse shoes are embedded in concrete over the wide burial site, and a portrait of Pat is etched on the headstone.
Know Before You Go
Enter Fort Sam Houston through the Cunningham Street gate. Visitors must present a driver's license or valid ID.