During the period 1914-1918, the United States of America sent nearly one million horses to the European forces. When the USA officially entered the war, another 182,000 horses were delivered overseas by the American Expeditionary Forces. Only 200 horses got back to American and 60,000 were murdered outright. As the nation’s equine population as well as trained cavalry mounts became heavily depleted, a great number of wild horses, including American Mustangs, were employed. Supplying war horses was regarded as a patriotic act, and Americans were really proud of their contribution.
In 1916 the Idaho Daily Statesmen told about the Mustang that the tiny western pony might not be up to cavalry standards, though he appears to be a good little Ford, and will get a person there and be up and about the next morning. The animal can use cactus as the only food, taking it with a smile.
The overall quality of Allied war horses was considered to be a key differentiator in the war. In 1918, the Duluth News Tribune stated that when the enemy finally starts its big retreat, it’s the Allies’ horses which will keep the Germans on the run.
Horses were mostly employed for transport, not only of solders but also for hauling ambulances, artillery and supply wagons. Unlike vehicles, they were better suited to travel through deep mud and also over rough terrain. Besides this, they turned to be helpful when it came to raising soldier morale. The newspapers of that time often pictured a firm bond between a soldier and his horse.
As for how farm horses were trained to become real war animals, a Kansas City Star reporter illustrated in 1917. For instance, a young lieutenant had a pony with a coffee pot brand on it. He called the pony Coffee and talk to the animal as if it were a human.
News reports of horses’ loyalty to their soldiers, heroism as well as grief when they were lost were quite common for that time. There’s nothing surprising that individual horses also became real heroes during World War I. A typical example of it was Kidron, the war horse of General John J.
It was a striking dark bay horse, boasting two white hind socks. For a long time Kidron successfully captured the imagination of the US citizens because the animal was often utilized by Pershing in victory parades and often seen in ceremonial pictures. The horse turned to be a symbol of all that was noble about the war, notwithstanding great losses of equine as well as human alike.
During the period 1914-1918, the United States of America sent nearly one million horses to the European forces. When the USA officially entered the war, another 182,000 horses were delivered overseas by the American Expeditionary Forces. Only 200 horses got back to American and 60,000 were murdered outright.