War Horse Retires

His comrades in the Army would be first to admit that he has never really been the stiff-upper-lip sort.

So when Thomas the strapping black gelding retired after almost 20 years of impeccable military service yesterday, he bowed out in an emotional farewell, complete with goodbye kisses for everyone.

His slobbery smooches for the soldiers looking after him have become the stuff of legend in the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment.  Click Here to read the rest of the article.

War Horse: the Movie

I blogged last year about both the book and the play.  Click here for my book review. Both were excellent.  Add in Steven Spielberg and the movie HAS to be great!  From the trailer it looks like it will meet expectations.  I will review it after I see it, which will probably be on Christmas day as a present to myself.

And, NO IT IS NOT BASED ON MY BOOK! …lol… I wish it was 🙂

Published in: on November 30, 2011 at 11:59 am  Comments (4)  
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New Review of “War Horse”

A Recent and I believe fair review of War Horse in Michigan War Studies Review byGervase Phillips, Manchester Metropolitan University :

A one-volume history of mounted warfare is a bold undertaking, for the scope of the topic is immense. As Louis DiMarco remarks in the introduction to this new study, “the war horse and rider was a viable military system for more than 3,000 years, far longer than any other military system” (ix). It is a challenge that has largely defeated the handful of historians who have attempted the task thus far: G. T. Denison, in the late nineteenth century, wrote what was, essentially, a polemic advocating the then current “mounted rifleman” school rather than a history;1 in 1961, James Lunt, a former cavalryman, published an elegy for his arm, too episodic to serve as a general history.2 In the 1970s, two works, one a collection of essays,3 the other a monograph by John Ellis,4 attempted a more comprehensive coverage, but these slim volumes provide only superficial treatment of their topic, and Ellis’s work is marred by his ideological prejudices against those social classes who (in the west at least) traditionally dominated the cavalry branch. DiMarco’s work is different: in his history, the horse itself provides the strong, central, unifying theme. The physical characteristics of the horse, breeds and types, horse equipment, equitation and horse mastership (care of horses) in the field—these are DiMarco’s concerns as he takes his reader from the earliest years of man’s blossoming relationship with equids, up through their use by American special forces in Afghanistan today.

I can recommend DiMarco’s work as the best single-volume history of cavalry….

Read the complete Review Here.

“History of the Horse” Coming Soon

Above is the trailer for a six part documentary entitled “The History of the Horse” that will be on most PBS stations later this year (dates and times TBD).  I helped out some with the episode on the horse warrior.  I have no idea what the final product looks like but the trailer promises a pretty interesting project.

See below for more information.

Saddle Up with Dennis Brouse is a television series airing on public television stations across the nation

The show celebrates the relationship between horse and human. Whether you own a horse or just love to watch them in the movies, we have a storied partnership with this magnificent animal. This series showcases everything from training tips for horse owners to trail destinations for recreational riders. We visit ranches and other locations where our bond with horses is illustrated in countless ways.

Click here to follow to the webpage.

Memorial Day Includes Four Legged Comrads

Reckless: “Pride of the Marines.”

The story of Reckless is not only remarkable – it is unusual. And once you learn about her, you will see why the Marine Corps not only fell in love with her – but honored her and promoted her every chance they got. And it wasn’t just the Marines that served with her in the trenches that honored her – her last promotion to Staff Sergeant was by Gen. Randolph McC Pate – the Commandant of the entire Marine Corps. You can’t get higher than that in the Marines.

Read the Rest of Reckless’ story Here.

New Book: Led by the Grey

One of my blog Readers just alerted me to this relatively new novel by Peter DeCosemo which looks to be very entertaining.  If you like science fiction and fantasy (which I do), military history (which I do), and horses (which I do), this looks like the perfect spring / summer read!

You can find out more about the book at this website: Led By the Grey. 

Right now the book is not available in the US but can be ordered directly from the UK through the website.

Another major attraction of the novel is that all procedes from sale of the Hardback will be to the Household Cavalry Casualty Fund.

I’ll post a review after I’ve read it.

Joey the War Horse

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo is a novel of the horse at war, told in the first person from the perspective of the horse.  Orginally published in 1982, the book has been republished as the theatrical version has become a major hit on the London stage. Though it is written for children and young adults, it is a moving and emotional story that will appeal to adults as well –especially those who have a special affinity for horses.  It is a short book that can be read in an evening, but still conveys a full and satisfying story.  Though the book takes place in the midst of World War I, its central theme is that the best of man can be evoked, even in difficult circumstances, by the simple goodness found in horses.

Morpurgo does an outstanding job drawing you into the world as seen by Joey, the part thoroughbred English farm horse who finds himself in the British cavalry in 1914.  For the next four years Joey experiences all the roles of the war horse:  cavalry mount, ambulance team, and artillery horse.  He also meets and befriends people and horses on all sides of the war:  Germans, British, and French.  One of the secrets of War Horse, I believe, is that Joey is a believable horse.  Morpurgo gives Joey just enough awareness and voice to allow him to tell his story, but not so much that he becomes a cartoon of the horse.  Though the author gives voice to Joey’s thoughts, those thoughts are mostly about what is important to a horse:  food, the weather, water, other horses, fear, excitement, and did I say food?   Morpurgo captures the fact that Joey is aware of humans and their world, and can distinguish and values the difference between different people.  Thus, the horse knows who is kind, who cares, and who does not –and responds to that treatment.

Michael Morpurgo is one of Great Britain’s top Children’s book authors.  He has written over 100 books aimed at young readers.  He is not a military historian but he relied on detailed interviews with World War I veterans to bring authenticity to Joey’s story.  The major military themes in the book are accurate:  the difficulty of cavalry attacking wire, the role of artillery teams, the functioning of the veterinary service, and the fate of horses at the end of the war.  Morpurgo also demonstrates a solid  understanding of horse care, training, and breeds.  I was particularly impressed with his mention of the Hanovarians and Haflingers in the German artillery service.

War Horse is an enjoyable and touching afternoon’s read, expertly written for the adult and child.  It conveys the essential goodness of animals and horses in particular, and demonstrates how they bring out the best in men even in the middle of the horror of war.   Like all good war fiction, War Horse is essentially an anti-war story.  It reminds me again of my own conclusion after writing my non-fiction work on war horses:  the best thing man has ever done for horses is develop technology to the point that the horse no longer has to participate in war.

War horse was the runner up for the best Children’s book award in Great Britain, the Whitbread Award, and has been turned into a hugely successful play in the London theater.  It is scheduled to begin playing in New York in 2011.  I highly recommend the book and the play –though the latter is only by reputation.

The above quick clip is the trailer for the play.  The below clip describes the horse puppeteering required to make the play work.  Its technically fascinating and definately a show I would travel to see!

Published in: on September 16, 2009 at 3:13 pm  Comments (36)  
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Another Positive Comment on War Horse

Another blogger has favorably mentioned War Horse as well as a couple of other new and interesting military equestrian titles.  See the “Ride to Victory” blog by clicking here.

Published in: on June 22, 2009 at 4:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
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War Horse on Amazon

War Horse  on Amazon.com Sales Rank: #46,576 in Books Popular in these categories:

#52 in Books > Home & Garden > Animal Care & Pets > Horses

#54 in Books > History > Military > Strategy

Published in: on June 7, 2009 at 9:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Traveling Household Cavalry


The horse detachment blog below brought to the fore the continuing role of the ceremonial horse cavalry units around the world, especially in nations at war.  An interesting article was published in the British press a couple of weeks ago on the household cavalry musical ride doing an exhibition in the Middle East.  I have planned a more complete description of the mounted Household cavalry in a future blog.  For now, check out the article, and especially the excellent photos.  Also enjoy the below youtube video of the world’s most famous mounted ceremonial formation.

Note:  Moving in this formation are about 105 mounted troops, counting officers, colors, and buglers (but not the band).  This basically shows you four troops (American platoons) of horse cavalry –roughly the equivalent of a squadron (American company) of traditional European cavalry.  Look at how much physical space this unit occupies and imagine it moving at a gallop across country at 30mph.  That’s one tenth of a regiment!  Now imagine a thousand (a full regiment) or four thousand (a division).  At Waterloo the French cavalry charge consisted of about 9,000 cavalry.  Makes the point of the powerful physical and physiological effect of cavalry on the historic battlefield.  Something that few if any individuals alive today have experienced.