June 2017
Youth Matters

Cadet Cavalry

Lyman Ward Military Academy creates a first-of-its-kind cavalry detachment.


Cadet Shayne Gatoux works on his sword skills while riding.

Southern Industrial Institute was founded in 1898 by Dr. Lyman Ward. Following Lyman Ward’s death in 1948, the board of directors established a military department. The school changed its name to Lyman Ward Military Academy and ended its elementary and co-educational programs. Ward is now grades sixth through 12th. In 1966, the school became a member of the JROTC program and is currently assigned to a retired officer and NCO by the Department of Army. The current president is Dr. Roy Berwick, retired U.S. Army Colonel and a former student of LWMA.

LWMA sits on 300 beautiful acres in Camp Hill. Within this stunning and historic setting, there is a beautiful barn with stables and pastureland. It is in this setting you will find Tactical Officer, Master Sgt. Shawn D. Farnsworth, U.S. Army retired 2015. Farnsworth was an infantryman and a combat veteran of Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom. During his service, Farnsworth served as the noncommissioned officer in charge of Fort Carson’s Mounted Color Guard, part of one of five cavalry detachments in the U.S. Army today. His cavalry consisted of a 1,500-acre historical ranch owned by the U.S. Army with 21 men, 20 horses and two mules. He is now a member of the U.S. Cavalry Association, a private organization that preserves U.S. Cavalry history and facilitates competitions at Fort Reno, Oklahoma, each year in September.

Master Sgt. Shawn D. Farnsworth gives a jumping demonstration.


Farnsworth has many duties as tactical officer at LWMA. Some of these include ensuring the safety of cadets, adhering to cadet regulations and school policies, and mentoring. Farnsworth is with the cadets from the moment they are awakened in the morning until the time they go to bed at night. He is a mentor, a disciplinarian, a teacher, a helper, an inspector and so many other titles including a father figure to these boys who are entrusted in his care and the care of LWMA. When he retired, Farnsworth wanted to do something with the same satisfaction as being in the Army. He enjoys watching the kids grow mentally, learning the lessons of life, becoming men, making the right choices and “being a role model to kids who maybe didn’t have the opportunity of a mentor in their life is very gratifying. These boys need leadership in their lives.” With this responsibility and with his past duties and love of horses, Farnsworth found a way to bring his present job and his passion together. He is building a program to inspire, teach compassion and turn hard work into an area most of these boys are completely unfamiliar with.


Shawn enjoys his time in this pastoral setting mentoring Cadet Josh Haldeman, of Newman, Georgia.

Farnsworth is building the Lyman Ward Cavalry Detachment. This detachment will be the first of its kind and he is starting it from the ground up. The Lyman Ward Cavalry Detachment has the property, the barn, the Cadets and its leader. This program has been funded solely by Farnsworth and Berwick. At this time, the cadets are learning basic horsemanship and beginner riding skills such as balance, posture, sitting at trot and canter. Most of the cadets have never been near a horse, much less ridden one. Farnsworth wants each cadet involved in the program to leave Lyman Ward as an intermediate rider with a compassion that can only be taught by the horses. He also wants to take the Lyman Ward Cavalry Detachment to Fort Reno to represent their school.

This program has immediate needs and long-term goals and wants. Farnsworth estimates about 10 cadets will join the program. These cadets are in great need of proper riding attire, especially boots. Horses owned by Farnsworth have been brought to LWMA and are kept in the one fenced area near the barn. Because of the poor nutritional value of the grass in their grazing area, they are given feed daily. Farnsworth has built them a stable area that is in need of shavings.

They also need a 90-foot round pen with sand. In the future,they would like to build an arena and a larger, fenced area for the boys to safely ride and the horses to graze. If you would like to help in any way, you may contact the school at 1-800-798-9151. All donations are tax deductable.


Cindy Boyd is a freelance writer from Montevallo.