Not long ago, when we first met, we visited the National War Museum in Ottawa. It is a fabulous display of all the wars Canada has been involved in over the last centuries. There was a large amount of information on the horses used in each war and how critical their roles were. It got me thinking, what would have been without the horses? Those horses were soldiers too. Loyal, brave, soldiers.
The horses used in war ranged from pony types, to Thoroughbreds, Warmbloods, and even Mules. As many Mules were used as horses in war. These horses were cherished, the soldiers knew their worth and adored them like we do our show horses. They were pampered in the stables and relaxed sweetly, and in the blink of an eye would be forced out and become the bravest horses in the land, galloping straight into the belly of hell and fire.
More horses were killed in the war than I care to mention. The numbers are staggering. There were special vets brought in to stay at the camps and tend to the injured horses. Many suffered shrapnel and bullet wounds. Many died of dehydration. They came equipped with gas masks to make it through the fog. They all spent the last moments of their lives doing the bravest thing we have ever know. They did it all for us, and why? Because they are loyal, amazing animals. This solidifies my eternal love of horses.
The book War Horse by Michael Morpurgo has been turned into a play, which in turn, is now being turned into a Spielberg film. The story follows a young man whose horse is sold into the Calvary. His strong bond forces him to travel to France to enlist despite being under age. It could be great, I hope it is. I know it will at the very least be a tear jerker. I want to try and get a copy of the book to read before the movie is out.
I found some great pictures online. The horses all look to be in top condition and turned out sharply considering the conditions. Oh what we owe them.
Here they are being loaded onto a ship.
Pack horses lined up.
German soldiers naked, bathing with their horses.
War horses waiting in Paris.
Horses getting loaded onto the train. The trains arrived every 10 minutes.
I love this horse.
These guys clearly love their horses.
I think this guy was pulling the raft across the river.
Today, I would like to remember those soldiers who lost their lives for our freedom. I give my heart to them and families who have loved, lost, and supported the soldiers come and gone. I would like for everyone to also remember those horses who fought so loyally, so bravely, and so admirably. We can not imagine what the world would be like without our human, and horse soldiers.