Comanche, the subject of an upcoming EquiFest presentation by the Kornacki family, is on exhibit on the fourth floor of the University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum in Lawrence, Kan. Photo by Jason Dailey/KU Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum

Charlotte Richter/Staff Writer

A local family will present lectures about their horseback adventures in Iceland, as well as the horse Comanche, said to be the only survivor of the U.S. 7th Cavalry at the Battle of Little Big Horn, during the 25th annual EquiFest of Kansas, the state’s all-breed horse fair and exposition, March 19 in Salina, Kan.

Longtime Fort Leavenworth Hunt members retired Lt. Col. Robert Kornacki and Cathie Kornaki, and their daughters, Capt. Tess Brunstein, Fort Leavenworth Dental Command; and Capt. Erin Fetzer, 1-63 Armor Battalion, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan., will present “Icelandic Riding Adventures” in the morning and “Comanche, Kansas Cavalry Horse Hero” in the afternoon.

Cathie Kornaki, Brunstein and Fetzer will share their experiences in Iceland during the “Icelandic Riding Adventures” presentation, including day-by-day takes on riding through Iceland’s Golden Circle, the specialties of Icelandic horses, and the cultural and historical aspects of their excursion.

Cathie said she hopes to share the heritage and disposition of Icelandic horses with others alongside the narrative of the trip. 

Fort Leavenworth Hunt member Cathie Kornacki and her daughters, Capt. Tess Brunstein, Fort Leavenworth, and Capt. Erin Fetzer, Fort Riley, Kan., will talk about their Icelandic horseback adventures at the 25th annual EquiFest of Kansas March 19 in Salina, Kan. Visit equifestofks.com for the schedule and more information. Submitted photo by Capt. Tess Brunstein and Capt. Erin Fetzer

“It was a very unique experience with learning the history of the horse and their use there…It was an interesting look at (Icelandic) culture,” Cathie said.

Robert Kornacki previously presented “Comanche, Kansas Cavalry Horse Hero” for the Fort Leavenworth Historical Society. The lecture discusses the military history of cavalry horse Comanche and research on the historical context of Comanche’s connection to Kansas.

“We have a very rich history, and (Comanche) kind of defines in many respects that history that’s integral to Kansas, and it’s something we ought not to forget…(Comanche) did the bidding of man in a rather valorous fashion if animals can have valor in that capacity,” Robert said.

Robert said his family’s activities with horses has almost exclusively been based in Kansas for the last 40 years, and he has an appreciation for the rich history he said he believes many forget.

Cathie said she has attended EquiFest in Kansas for nearly all of the festival’s 25 years. Her history with horses dates back to childhood, participating in foxhunts, trail rides and competitions throughout her life. She has been associated with the Fort Leavenworth Hunt since 1978 and is the first female to hold the “Master of the Foxhounds” title.

Robert said Cathie introduced him to horses on a blind date as a passion of hers, and that he’s been involved ever since. He has been associated with the Fort Leavenworth Hunt for more than 20 years.

Brunstein and Fetzer have also been involved with the Fort Leavenworth Hunt and regularly foxhunt and ride cross country.

Cathie said EquiFest offers a family-friendly show of clinicians such as Chris Cox, a showcase of regional horse organizations and an exhibition of various breeds on display for attendees.

EquiFest is March 18-20 at Tony’s Pizza Events Center and Saline County Expo Center, Salina, Kan. For more information about EquiFest, visit equifestofks.com.

The Fort Riley Commanding General’s Mounted Color Guard will present the colors each day, as well as demonstrate skills. Other presenters include the Nicodemus Buffalo Soldiers, the American Freedom Drill Team Riders and many more.

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