War Horse Care in World War I Part 1

War Horse Care in World War I Part 1

Purchase of horses

Until the 1880s, the cavalry regiment was responsible for buying its own horses. In 1887, a reinstallation department was established to take over the post. Animals come from breeders, auction houses and private households. The officers at the time still provided their horses.

When World War I broke out in 1914, the Army had only 25,000 horses available. By the end of the conflict, it had purchased 460,000 horses and mules from the UK and Ireland, and even more from overseas.


Before the war, a census was conducted on British horses to determine how many horses there were, how many horses they ate, and what type of work was appropriate for them. Their nearest train station is also listed.

War Horse Care in World War I Part 1

During the first weeks of the conflict, the Army requisitioned about 120,000 horses from civilians. Owners who cannot prove that their horses are necessary for transportation or agricultural duties must surrender them.

Dr. Reginal Hill has worked in the Army Heavy Equipment Division. He uses the stationery box below when traveling around the country. It contains everything he needs to buy horses for the army, including a checkbook, numerous official forms and labels, and a soldering iron.


The Resettlement Department is also seeking overseas help, spending more than 36 million pounds (about 1.5 billion pounds today) on animals from around the world, especially from the United States and Canada. Over 600,000 horses and mu sons were shipped from North America.

War Horse Care in World War I Part 1

Traveling by horse is as dangerous as a horse. Thousands of animals were killed, mainly due to illness, injuries caused by shipwrecks and turbulent ships. In 1917, more than 94,000 horses were shipped from North America to Europe, and 3,300 were lost at sea. When submarines and other warships sank ships, about 2700 horses died.

On June 28, 1915, the U-24 torpedo was hit by a U-24 torpedo off the coast of Cornish. Although the surviving crew was allowed to abandon the ship, the ship's 1,400 horses and muzi cargo were not so lucky and all died.


Once boarded, the animals will be placed in their stalls and undergo regular inspections throughout the voyage. Despite the best efforts of the people who care for them, many horses have suffered from "transport fever", a form of pneumonia and various types of lung discomfort.

After confinement, it usually takes a few weeks for the horse to recover on landing. The role of the reinstallation department and the Army Veterinary Corps is to shape them and prepare them for active duty.

War Horse Care in World War I Part 1


Horses purchased for the army must meet certain conditions. A horse must be at least three years old, of good health, and of the right size to do the job it is buying-riding, pulling a gun or transporting it.

Horses were requisitioned from civilians at the beginning of the war, prompting some families to write to the war office asking them to save their beloved ponies. In response, the War Office decided not to recruit horses under 15 hands. Use a special stick to measure the horse's height from the shoulder (top of the shoulder).

Reloading warehouses in Romsey, Hampshire are busy during the day and at night, with horses coming from all over the UK and horses coming from nearby Southampton from overseas. Check all animals for infectious diseases. Then, once it passes the service, it is sent to the front line.

War Horse Care in World War I Part 1


For hundreds of years, a large number of military horses have been lost due to negligence. In 1796, the army appointed a veterinarian of the Cavalry Regiment to reduce the number of sick and injured horses killed in the battle.

The Blue Cross Foundation, founded in 1912, provides medical assistance and supplies to animals. This was particularly important during World War I, as many recruits have never worked with horses before and need to learn quickly.

In 1915, the Blue Cross produced the "Manual for Drivers and Gunners to Manage and Care for Horses", which provides important information for soldiers using artillery, ambulances and supply horses.