Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

War Horses: Idealized and for Real

We received a press release that we thought we would share with you.  It's a program that focuses on war horses:

The Lightbox gallery and museum in Woking, Surrey, will commemorate the centenary of World War One with the exhibition "The Horse at War: 1914 – 1918" (25 November 2014 – 1 March 2015). Exploring the role of the horse in World War One, the exhibition will compare the glorified image of officers and their chargers at war with the piteous desolation of these animals as beasts of burden when faced with gunfire and trench warfare.

Below is a set of images from the Lightbox gallery and my own files that shows the contrast of the gloried equestrian images and the real experience of the animals in combat.


Prepared for Gas Warfare

On Work Detail

Stuck in the Mud

Killed in Action, Haelen, 1914


  1. As an aside it's perhaps worth revisiting one of the lions-led-by-donkeys claims, that it took a huge logistical effort on the part of the British Army to transport fodder to France to feed the "useless" cavalry that the generals insisted on keeping in being. It's true that mountains of fodder had to be shipped, and that it involved enormous numbers of trucks and wagons - but most of it wasn't for cavalry horses: it was for feeding the horses, donkeys and mules that kept the Army supplied and mobile.

  2. I think the men on the horses were prepared for gas, but the horses simply have on their feed bags. Horse gas masks covered their eyes as well.