As drill teams, we are in a perfect position to present our Nation's flag with style. And, we are obligated to present it with the proper respect that it deserves. In order to do that, proper flag etiquette must be used.
Etiquette as it relates to mounted drill teams is complicated due to the constant movement and changing of positions while performing a drill. The American Flag Etiquette rules listed below are specifically for Equestrian Drill Teams so please read them thoroughly and abide by them at all times!
And remember, nothing makes people feel more patriotic than an American Flag flying withHORSEPOWER!
AMERICAN FLAG ETIQUETTE
Dawn Oien of the STAMPEDE STARLETS from Kitsap County, Washington riding 'Foxy'.
Photo courtesy of www.WesternImagePhoto.com
** No flag on the team should be higher or larger than the American Flag (Tall flag poles are necessary to carry our Nation's flag).
** No other flags should be excused (leave) the arena before the American Flag.
** Ornaments are a required piece of equipment on any staff that carries an American Flag.
Correct ornaments are:
* A Ball
* A Spearhead
* An Eagle - (If an Eagle is used, it must fly facing forward. Hint: put a small sticker on the flag pole just above your hand marking the place where your Eagle flies forward. This way you do not have to keep looking up to check the position of the Eagle. Or, to make it more simple, use a ball ornament instead)
The American Flag.....
** Should never follow other flags or riders. This includes the 'Chevron' (also called a 'Vee' or 'Wedge') maneuver in which the American Flag should always be at the front point. (Exception: When a drill team is performing a rotating circle, the American Flag can be included in the formation as long as it leaves the formation first and in a leading position)
** Should always be to the far right (its own right) of all other flags and riders when positioned abreast (next to).
** Should never travel backwards (i.e. the horse carrying the flag should not back up) which historically denotes retreat.
** When performing the 'Crack the Whip' maneuver, the American Flag should be on the outside and the team should be traveling in a counter-clockwise direction. (If the team traveled clockwise, the American Flag would technically be to the left of the other riders which is incorrect)
** When performing the 'Pinwheel' maneuver, and using two American Flags, the American Flag should be on the outside and the team should be traveling counter-clockwise. If the two American Flags are used as pivots (in the center), the team should be traveling clockwise.
** All other flags should dip in respect when the American Flag enters the arena. (This rule can be relaxed when performing an actual drill - However, during opening ceremonies, for example, all the other flags should dip) The American Flag never salutes (dips to) any other person or thing! It must be carried straight upright at all times, never leaning from side to side or forward or back regardless of the speed being executed by the horse and rider.
** The American Flag should never touch anything beneath it although it is not necessary to retire an American Flag that has touched the ground.
** If it falls, it should be rescued immediately and restored to its correct position. (NOTE: The American Flag should never be carried by a horse and/or rider with questionable capabilities.)
LATIGO N LACE from Washington State perform at the SuperRide in Canton, Texas.
Photo courtesy of www.midwestmedia.net
Flag Carriage Tips for
all types of flags:
* The bottom of the flag should fly above the rider's head (preferably 6 inches above) for two reasons:
1) If the flag blocks the rider's view it creates a serious safety issue.
2) It looks better if the flag is flying high!
* As a rule of thumb, if you are carrying a 4ft X 6ft flag, use a 10ft pole (4 + 6 =10). However, realize that even an 8ft pole when carrying a 3ft X 5ft flag (3 + 5=8) may not be high enough for some tall riders.
* The lighter the flag, the easier it is to handle. Keep this in mind when purchasing or making your flags. A hint: If you will be carrying a large American Flag outdoors, purchase a good quality printed flag as the seams on a sewn flag add to the weight and drag significantly. On windy days, a rider can literally get yanked out of the saddle!
Order of flags:
Starting with the American Flag on the far right and going left:
1) American Flag
2) State flags
3) Armed Forces flags (In this order: Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard)
Note: These can replace the position of a State flag but only when representing the Federal Government during a ceremony)
4) City flags (If a State flag is not used it would be inappropriate to use a city flag.)
5) Team flags
6) Sponsor flags
It is not necessary to use all the above named flags but this gives the proper order in case you do.