A Walk On The Mild Side

What a great couple of days Indy and I have had. On Saturday I rode him for about a half hour, and he was even more responsive to the sidepull than the last ride. I think he's figured out that if he's good in the sidepull, he won't have to wear a bit. Since he much prefers the sidepull, that's a powerful incentive!

We had a great ride - heck, it wasn't even hot, not even for Indy. For some reason, Ami got quite perturbed every time she looked up and Indy wasn't immediately in sight. She would come crashing into the barn so she could look out the back window and see us around the corner. I could tell Indy was thinking, "What's with her?" I guess it could have been the fact that Mike was mowing with the tractor, plus the kids next door were racing their ATV all over. Whatever, it didn't bother Indy. As usual.

Yesterday, I decided to take him out into the open field for only the second time - with the first time being over three years ago. With me on the ground for this initial time. I wanted to make sure I knew what he would do if Ami started throwing fits. After the way she acted the day before, when we were just in the paddock like always, I figured his going outside might bring on some real fireworks.

Ami did not disappoint in the fireworks department - she threw a real hissy fit! Running, bucking, squealing, you name it. Indy was startled enough to look around when she started, but ignored her completely after that. I guess I found out what I wanted to know!

Indy was just about perfect on this tour. Oh, he was scarfing down the edibles, but I couldn't blame him. The pasture is almost ready to cut, and there was clover that was knee high. I considered trying it myself...

He never pulled on me or tried to go his own way, and he came back inside the gate with no fuss at all. Of course, as I was trying to get the gate completely closed, he was trying to push it back open with his nose, but all was well and he let me secure the gate. I think he felt better about the whole thing when I started telling him what a good boy he'd been.

I rode him for just a very few minutes, and he didn't try to insist on going out again or anything. He was just his usual self - "What, me worry?"

Next time we ride out. I know, I know. I've had Indy for 6 years, he is Mr. Cool, and we still haven't ridden in the open field. It's incredible to me too. I intended to go slow, but not this slow!

Sigh.... Many factors, most of them quite unlikely, went into this delay. But, that's a whole other post.

Remembering the Horses of War

A Special Memorial Day Report

May 2008

Following the end of the Civil War, many communities set aside a day to mark the end of the war and as a memorial to those who died.

It is estimated that 1.5 million horses died in the Civil War.

Not included formally, but most certainly in the hearts and minds of the cavalry, were these horses.

That was far from the beginning, and certainly not the end, of the use of the Horse in War.


Horses have been used in human warfare for millennia, probably since the time of domestication of the horse. Horses were specially trained for a variety of military uses, including battle, individual combat, reconnaissance (scouting), transport, and supply. The term war horse usually refers to horses used for fighting, whether as cavalry in battle or in individual combat. The best-known war horse was the destrier, ridden by the knight of the Middle Ages. However, even horses used for purposes other than direct combat played a critically important part of successful military ventures. There are still some uses for horses in the military even in today's modern world. Source

World War I

Horses were heavily used in World War One. Horses were involved in the war's first military conflict involving Great Britain - a cavalry attack near Mons in August 1914. Horses were primarily to be used as a form of transport during the war.

When the war broke out in Western Europe in August 1914, both Britain and Germany had a cavalry force that each numbered about 100,000 men.

In August 1914, no-one could have contemplated the horrors of trench warfare - hence why the cavalry regiments reigned supreme. In fact, in Great Britain the cavalry regiments would have been seen as the senior regiments in the British Army, along with the Guards regiments, and very many senior army positions were held by cavalry officers.

However, the cavalry charge seen near Mons was practically the last seen in the war. Trench warfare made such charges not only impractical but impossible. A cavalry charge was essentially from a bygone military era and machine guns, trench complexes and barbed wire made such charges all but impossible. However, some cavalry charges did occur despite the obvious reasons as to why they should not.

I March 1918, the British launched a cavalry charge at the Germans. By the Spring of 1918, the war had become more fluid but despite this, out of 150 horses used in the charge only 4 survived. The rest were cut down by German machine gun fire.

However, though a cavalry charge was no longer a viable military tactic, horses were still invaluable as a way of transporting materials to the front. Military vehicles, as with any mechanised vehicles of the time, were relatively new inventions and prone to problems. Horses, along with mules, were reliable forms of transport and compared to a lorry needed little upkeep.

Such was the use of horses on the Western Front that over 8 million died on all sides fighting in the war. Two and a half million horses were treated in veterinary hospitals with about two million being sufficiently cured that they could return to duty. Source

World War II

Though formal mounted cavalry began to be phased out as fighting forces during or immediately after World War I, cavalry units that included horses still had military uses well into World War II.

The most famous example was the under equipped Polish army, which used its horse cavalry in World War II to defend Poland against the armies of Nazi Germany during the 1939 invasion.

Other nations used horses extensively during WWII, though not necessarily in direct combat.

Hitler's armies reportedly used more horses and mules in WWII than the German armies used in WWI.

LoneSentry asserts:

Despite highly ballyhooed emphasis on employment of mechanized forces and on rapid movement, the bulk of German combat divisions were horse drawn throughout World War II. Early in the war it was the common belief of the American public that the German Siegfrieds of Hitler's Blitz rode forth to battle on swift tanks and motor vehicles. But the notion of the mechanized might of the German Wehrmacht was largely a glamorized myth born in the fertile brains of newspapermen. Actually, the lowly horse played a most important part in enabling the German Army to move about Europe.

Public opinion to the contrary, so great was the dependence of the Nazi Blitzkrieg upon the horse that the numerical strength of German Army horses maintained during the entire war period averaged around 1,100,000. Of the 322 German Army and SS divisions extant in November 1943, only 52 were armored or motorized. Of the November 1944 total of 264 combat divisions, only 42 were armored or motorized. Source

Both the German and the Soviet armies used horses until the end of the war, not only to transport ammunitions and equipment, but also for reconnaissance and counter-insurgency efforts. The British Army used mules in India and Southeast Asia as pack animals.

While the United States Army utilized a few cavalry and supply units during the war, there were concerns that in rough terrain, horses were not used often enough. In the campaigns in North Africa, generals such as George S. Patton lamented their lack, saying, "had we possessed an American cavalry division with pack artillery in Tunisia and in Sicily, not a German would have escaped." Source

Last Charge

The last American mounted tactical cavalry unit in combat was the 26th Cavalry (Philippine Scouts) in Philippines, stationed at Ft Stotsenburg, Luzon, 1942, which fought both mounted and dismounted against Japanese invasion troops in 1942.

On the Bataan Peninsula, the 26th Cavalry (PS) staged a mounted attack against the Japanese on 16 January 1942. The battered, exhausted men of the 26th Cavalry climbed astride their horses and flung themselves moments against the blazing gun muzzles of Japanese tanks.

This last mounted pistol charge was led by Ed Ramsey in command of G troop, 26th Cavalry. It was the last mounted charge in America's annals, and proved the climax of the 26th Cavalry's magnificent but doomed horseback campaign against the Imperial Japanese Army during the fall of the Philippines in 1941-42.

According to a Bataan survivor interviewed in the Washington Post (10 April 1977), starving US and Philippine troops ate all the regiment's horses. Source

Horses in War Today

Today, formal combat units of mounted cavalry are in almost all cases a thing of the past, with horseback units within the modern military used for reconnaissance, ceremonial, or crowd control purposes. The only remaining fully horse-mounted regular regiment in the world is India's 61st Cavalry.

Organized armed fighters on horseback are occasionally seen, particularly in the third world, though they usually are not officially recognized as part of any national army. The best-known current examples are the Janjaweed, militia groups seen in the Darfur region of Sudan, who became notorious for their attacks upon unarmed civilian populations in the Darfur conflict.

Although horses have little combat use today by modern armies, the military of many nations still maintain small numbers of mounted units for certain types of patrol and reconnaissance duties in extremely rugged terrain, including the current conflict in Afghanistan. Hungary, some Commonwealth countries, Balkan countries, and the former Soviet republics of Central Asia maintain cavalry units as part of light infantry and reconnaissance formations for use in mountainous terrain or areas where fuel supply may be difficult. Source

Monumental Oversight

It is said that there are more horse statues in Washington D.C. that in any other place in the United States. They do seem to be everywhere.

What you will not see is a memorial to the horses who gave their lives in times of war.

One was created in London in 2004, not just to honor horses, but all animals conscripted into the service of their country.

My dream is that some day one will stand in Washington D.C.

Vivian Grant,

The Fund for Horses
Become a Member
WH&B Project
Donate to the Fund
Donate to Charities
Visit Our Website
Tuesday's Horse
Contact Us

Int'l Fund for Horses is a Member League of OIPA
Organisation Internationale pour la Protection des Animaux

OIPA is an NGO associated to the UN Department of Public Information


AVMA Amends Horse Transport Policy

May 12 2008, Article # 11855

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has reinforced its opposition to the use of double-deck trailers to transport horses and other equines by approving a new policy on the humane transport of equines.

The policy, which was proposed by the AVMA animal welfare committee and approved by the executive board on April 12, 2008, states that due to animal welfare and safety concerns, the AVMA opposes the use of double-deck trailers to transport equines. The AVMA previously has supported USDA regulations prohibiting the use of such trailers for transport of horses and other equines to slaughter, and submitted written comments to the USDA on this issue earlier this year.

Read the more at http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=11855

The complete policy can be accessed at AVMA.org.


CSU Research Aims To Reduce Injuries To Race Horses

clipped from www.examiner.com

SPORTS: CSU research aims to reduce injuries to race horses

By MIKE HOOKER, The Associated Press

The death of a top race horse in the Kentucky Derby is something researchers at Colorado State University hope to help prevent in the future.

Eight Belles, a filly, fractured both front ankles after placing second at the race last weekend. Veterinarians euthanized her at the track, prompting a nationwide discussion about the risks the animals face from aggressive training and breeding.

At CSU's Equine Orthopedic Research Center, one veterinarian is a pioneer in bone and joint surgery that is saving race horses. Another has tissue samples from 150 different horses, hoping to find an answer to the common injury that Eight Belles suffered May 3.

O'Connor Horse Tigger Too Dies at Jersey Event

clipped from www.thehorse.com

May 11 2008,
Article # 11850

The U.S. Eventing Association released the following official statement regarding Lauren Kieffer and her mount Tigger Too following the death of the David O'Connor horse on May 10 during the Jersey Fresh CCI3* at the New Jersey Horse Park in Allentown, N.J.

"The organizing committee of the Jersey Fresh CCI3* regrets to announce the death of David O'Connor's horse, Tigger Too, ridden by Lauren Kieffer, at Fence 28 on the cross-country course today. Lauren was uninjured in the fall.

"The FEI investigative panel has been convened to review the facts surrounding the incident, and more information will be released once the investigation is through.

"Our thoughts and prayers remain with the O'Connor and the Kieffer families after the loss of this wonderful horse."


HSUS Offers Reward for Info on Pony Dragging Death

May 09 2008, Article # 11838

The Humane Society of the United States is offering a reward up to $2,500 for information leading to the identification, arrest, and conviction of the person or people responsible for dragging a blind 10-year-old pony to death April 30 in Shenango Township, Pa.

Mercer County Humane Society officers stated that on Apr. 30, Tory Morgan found the remains of her pony, Kahlua, on her Shenango Township property. Officers believe the pony was roped to an all-terrain vehicle and dragged, sustaining broken legs and injuries to his chest and stomach. Four of Morgan's other horses sustained cuts and scratches, which officers believe the horses might have sustained while fleeing the assailant or assailants.

The Mercer County Humane Society is investigating. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call 724/981-5445.

The HSUS Animal Cruelty Campaign raises public awareness and educates communities about the connection between animal cruelty and human violence while providing a variety of resources to law enforcement agencies, social work professionals, educators, legislators, and families. The HSUS offers rewards in animal cruelty cases across the country and works to strengthen laws against animal cruelty. Visit HumaneSociety.org/Cruelty.

Eight Belles

clipped from www.thehorse.com

Eight Belles' Injury Raises Questions About Racing Industry

May 05 2008,
Article # 11807

A day after Big Brown blazed across the finish line, the snapshot of Eight Belles down on the dirt set off a raging debate that extended far beyond the Kentucky Derby: Is horse racing now facing an image crisis?

With the memory of Barbaro still fresh, Eight Belles' catastrophic injury Saturday put increasing focus on a sport already trying to overcome a decline in popularity.

Her death has raised thorny issues about the whole Thoroughbred industry, including track safety, whether fillies should be allowed to run against colts, and whether horses are bred too much for speed and not for soundness.

Read more at www.thehorse.com


The Best Of Times; The Worst Of Times - Plus Six

I can hardly believe it's been six years since Indy first set foot on this property. It seems impossible to me that it has been that long. May 5th, 2002. I had lost my precious DJ on March 6th, and I was very much still in shock.

I'd spent my time - day and night since I couldn't sleep - searching the Internet for another Morgan. I knew getting another horse was the only thing that would get me and Ami through, just as finding DJ all those years ago got me through losing Sirron. Normally, I would have looked for a different breed like I always did with dogs, but being with DJ for twenty years had convinced me that it had to be another Morgan. Not a flaxen chestnut though. DJ was my flaxen chestnut.

Since I was looking for a different color, I was surfing the Rainbow Morgans web links and happened to find myself at Valley Stables in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It so happened that they were reluctantly offering for sale a green coming four year old colt named VS Golden Desperado.

The more I read about this horse, the more something inside said, "Yes!" It was eerie - I felt exactly the way I had when I set eyes on DJ. DJ was only a few weeks older than Indy when I found him; he was very green - with only the basics under saddle - just like Indy; the month was May when I found DJ, and both horses were foaled in May as well. DJ was foaled in 1978, Indy in 1998. I bought DJ without having ridden him myself, and the same would be the case with Indy if I purchased him. I watched DJ's trainer ride him; I got a video of Indy's trainer riding him. The similarities go on and on.

Now, I'm quite the skeptic when it comes to the paranormal and all that, but Indy hooked me like a fish on the line - just like DJ. After seeing the video of his first ride under saddle - as a three year old stallion in mixed company! - I was more convinced than ever that he was Mr. Right.

His breeder, Brenda Vincent, was being extremely careful about who she sold her precious Indy to. We talked on the phone several times and exchanged a number of emails before she agreed that he and I were meant for each other. However, she asked for my word that if the time ever came that I couldn't/didn't want to keep Indy that she get first refusal. That's what I call responsible breeding. Too bad more breeders aren't as conscientious regarding the horses they bring into the world.

Of course, I could not leave Indy as a stallion - no matter how much Ami screamed and cried - so Ron and Brenda had him gelded after my purchasing him was a done deal. Then they would deliver him themselves after about a month.

Those weeks passed quickly, and before we knew it Ron and Brenda were at the gas station where we had agreed to meet them and lead them on to our place. I looked into their trailer, and there he was. He looked at me as if we'd known each other forever, totally relaxed and peaceful.

It only took a few minutes, and we were pulling into the field and up the hill where Ami was anxiously waiting. She missed DJ as much as I did, and her cries for him were unbearable. Now she watched this trailer on high alert.

She stood like a statue as Ron unloaded Indy and Indy started to calmly munch on the grass.

When Ron took Indy over to meet her, they both acted as if they had known each other forever - just as Indy had acted with me. There's just something about Indy - he seems to love everyone and everything, and it never seems to cross his mind that he might have anything to worry about.

Ami was obviously interested in making Indy's acquaintance.

And he was equally interested in making hers.

Ron let Indy graze for a few minutes to let everyone settle down. In all honesty though, no one seemed to need to settle down, because they weren't worked up in the first place.

After those few minutes, I lead Indy into the large paddock, and he and I walked up and down in our first walk together. Except for one big look at the huge rock by the outer gate, Indy was perfectly relaxed.

Then we turned him loose to graze in the big paddock and watched as he and Ami continued getting acquainted over the fence. No squealing or kicking - they just continued to sniff and get to know each other.

And, that's the way it's been for the last six years. Indy has more than lived up to his promise - for me and Ami. He is sweet, intelligent, mischievous but willing. He has an overwhelming curiosity that gets him into everything, and he seems to fear nothing.

I was still very much in grief mode for DJ, but no one could fail to love this golden stinker, and he soon made his own place in my heart.


Artist Selected to Create Barbaro Memorial Statue

Nearly two years after Barbaro took the Kentucky Derby, and a year and a half following his death, the colt's memory continued to prevail as dozens of fans and media gathered for a special announcement regarding a memorial statue of him at Churchill Downs.

Surrounded by images of their deceased colt projected on the walls of the Kentucky Derby Museum, Roy and Gretchen Jackson May 1 announced they have selected equine sculptor Alexa King to create a permanent memorial honoring the 2006 Derby victor.

King will sculpt a statue of Barbaro, which will become the focal point of his official burial site in front of Gate 1 at Churchill Downs. A one-third-scale model clay replica of the statue was unveiled at the museum, which features Barbaro and jockey Edgar Prado in mid-flight between strides nearing the finish line in the 2006 Run for the Roses.

Read more

"From my earliest memories, I have loved horses with a longing beyond words." ~ Robert Vavra