Horses in War: War Horse

Horses in War: War Horse

After the 2013 ANZAC Day march in Sydney we went to the show “War Horse” at the Lyric Theatre in Sydney. The story is about a horse Joey  and his owner Albert who are both sent to France with the British Army in WWI. It is a wonderful show, the puppets were amazing, but, knowing the true fate of those horses, it is very confronting and sad.

If we think about the relationship between Man and Horse, those noble animals have been alongside our troops in so many battles:

In those far off unmechanized days, suffering by horses in the pursuit of men’s bitter quarrels was taken for granted. Horses have died in their millions in the service of their country from the first cavalry horses of the Celtiberians, scaling the rocks of Spain and Portugal in support of Hannibal, to the selfless sacrifice of the British horses which galloped undemurring into the Russian guns at Balaclava.

(“The Royal Horses of Europe” by Sylvia Loch)

There is a memorial to the war horses at the Church of St Jude, London. It reads

In grateful and reverent memory to the Empire’s horses

(some 375,000) who fell in the Great War (1914-1918).

Most obediently, and often most painfully, they died.

And here is another anonymous quote which records their sacrifice:-

Look back at our struggles for freedom,

Trace our present day’s strength to its source;

And you’ll find that Man’s pathway to glory

Is strewn with the bones of a horse

Please … no more War Horses!   

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