mares, young stock, and so forth; it shows only to a certain extent the increase or decrease in the number of horses bred. A rough census was taken through the instrumentality of police constables in 1910, useful from a military point of view in that the names and addresses of horse-owners are given. The returns have been made out to show the numbers of riding, light draught, and heavy draught horses, and ponies between 13.2 hands and 14.2 hands, without reference to age, type, or breeding; it is interesting to find that, according to these returns, the numbers of riding, light draught, heavy draught, and ponies are in the ratio of 1, 3.5, 4.8, and .96 respectively, thus pointing to a large preponderance of the cart-horse type.

But the police census' does not nearly bring to light all that we should know concerning our horse supply; and it appears more than ever necessary in these days of motor traction and consequent decrease in the use of the light draught horse (for the carriage, the 'bus, and light van) that we should have a proper census taken from time to time, as on the Continent, so that we can judge with fair accuracy the number of our horses, their age, class, and utility.

There is no doubt whatever but that the breeding of light or moderately well-bred horses has steadily and largely diminished during the last twenty years. This growing decrease has caused the serious consideration of those who take an interest in horsebreeding, and also of those who realise that a shortage may occur even for the requirements of the Army when engaged in a European war.

The principal sources of demand for the light horses we breed are now the foreign market, the hunting-field, and lastly the Army, which buys at present under 3000 horses annually. Should hunting decline, or from one cause or another be stopped in the United Kingdom (which may the Fates forbid), there will be scarcely any demand in this country for the type of horse required for the cavalry and artillery; it will then behove the Government to breed horses themselves for military requirements, as has had to be done on the Continent. Thus it will be seen that a careful eye should be kept on the state of our horse supply; the only way to do this would appear to be by means of a census, as is done in France, Germany, and Austria.

The above-named countries, of course, all require larger standing armies than ourselves, and consequently more horses for military purposes. At the same time they do not possess the same natural advantages, such as hunting, to induce private individuals to go in for breeding; so that we have had up to now an incentive for breeding riding horses which is possessed by no other country to the same degree. I make these pre

liminary remarks with a view to emphasising the fact that a mobilisation of horses for war is dependent on the supply and its upkeep.


On a general mobilisation taking place the Regular Army at home requires about 44,000 horses to fill up its ranks to war strength, and the Territorial forces about another 86,000; it may be expected that an additional twenty per cent. will be wanted at the end of a fortnight's campaigning to replace casualties in such troops as are in the fighting line.

Until comparatively recent times there has been known to be an ample supply of horses fit for Army purposes; and there has not appeared to be the same necessity for such a rapid acquirement of them as at present exists, so that it has been considered sufficiently safe to rely on the ability of purchasing in the open market the number of horses required to fill up the various arms to war strength-that is, above and beyond such numbers as were on the registered list.'


Registration of horses was instituted by the late MajorGeneral Ravenhill, the idea being that private individuals or business firms with large stocks of horses should be invited to register a certain number of their horses, which could be bought at a price mutually agreed upon by the Army authorities and themselves on the outbreak of war, an annual fee of 10s. per horse being paid to the owner. For several years, and in fact until the motor came into use, there was little difficulty in getting 20,000 workable and suitable horses on the register.

When it is brought to mind that (to give an example) the London General Omnibus Company used to keep 15,000 to 16,000 horses in London and district alone, and that now they have not one, it will be seen that a large source of immediate supply for the artillery, engineers, and transport has disappeared throughout England, Scotland, and Wales-a very serious matter. For, not only are there considerably fewer horses of the above type now than formerly, but they will tend still further to diminish according to the natural law of supply and demand.'

Let us consider for a moment whether we can leave things. as formerly; namely, rely on a certain number of registered horses, and trust to luck for obtaining the necessary remainder in the open market.

It is getting more difficult year by year to induce owners to register their horses at the 10s. retaining fee, and indeed, as pointed out above, there does not exist the required class of horse

for registration. It might be possible to purchase in the open market, through the medium of dealers, sufficient horses to fill up to strength the cavalry and transport services in a comparatively short space of time; but no large dealer, in spite of all the advantages he possesses, his knowledge of the location of horses, and his command over various agents, can say for certain how long it will take him to collect the number required. No doubt, if time were of not much importance there is every probability of the large dealer acquiring the number of horses of the types named above in a more satisfactory way than could be done by any other means.

With regard to artillery horses (R.H.A. and R.F.A.), information gleaned from some of the most reliable men who purchase that class of horse points to the fact of its being an impossibility to acquire such horses fit for service, either in the requisite numbers or time.

Thus it may be concluded that matters cannot rest as formerly.

It may be asked why the artillery horse should be more difficult to obtain than the cavalry or transport horse; the answer shortly is that this type of horse has diminished most seriously in numbers, and brigades of Horse and Field Artillery are consequently kept most lamentably short of horses in peace time.

Most brigades (three batteries) of Field Artillery require, over and above their peace establishment, no less than 415 draughthorses on mobilisation, in addition to extra riders.

The type required is a horse with some breeding, active, fairly fast, able to gallop, and not too heavy and clumsy for a little driver to ride; the beau ideal is the weight-carrying hunter, but the horse one was accustomed to see some years back in the omnibus is very suitable.

I feel convinced that, whatever scheme may be adopted for horse mobilisation, the necessary number of horses will not be forthcoming unless the peace establishment is raised for Royal Horse and Field Artillery. Presuming that a considerably larger number were kept, it is just possible that certain large dealers could procure the remainder. But this would only apply to a mobilisation for service abroad, as distinct from service at home -namely, on invasion; an eventuality for which we should be prepared.

In the latter case we must obtain our horses in a very short space of time.

We arrive now at the fact that, with a view to feeling comfortable, so to speak, we require practically the same organisation for the acquirement of horses in case of war as exists in all great Continental countries. It may be as well to glance briefly at the conditions on which their organisation is based.

SYSTEM ADOPTED FOR MOBILISATION ON THE CONTINENT In the first place these countries keep large Government breeding establishments-needless to say, at considerable expense -and thus make certain that there is a sufficient number of horses for military purposes on emergency. The cost of horse supply to some of these countries is considerably over 1,000,0001. a year.

A census is taken by the civil authority; they (the civil authorities) are also responsible for the collection of horses in their districts on a certain date, in order that the animals may be inspected and classified by a mixed commission of military and civil authorities. When mobilisation takes place owners are obliged to bring, to certain central places, the horses that are required from them; the horses are purchased at these places and taken over by the military.

The above is a rough outline of the system which is in vogue in most Continental countries. It will be seen that the system is such that their requirements can be fulfilled in the shortest possible time, and it hangs on two laws: firstly, one empowering the civil authority to take a census and to produce the horses before a commission for military classification; secondly, one obliging the owners to bring their horses to certain centres on mobilisation. There is no doubt that, to follow on identically the same lines would be the best scheme to adopt; but it must be remembered that the countries which adopt this system have a rightful call, so to speak, on the inhabitants, in that they spend large amounts on their horse supply, and the inhabitants are imbued with military ideas and a knowledge of military exigencies from the fact of their general liability to service in the Army. Our case is not analogous, and it would appear hopeless to adopt the Continental system in its entirety until universal service is also adopted.

It thus appears that what we require is a scheme modelled on that of the Continent, with certain modifications.


There has existed for some time the power of impressing horses and vehicles, the conditions of which are laid down in Army Act, Section 115; and, lately, a law has been passed giving the right of entry into stables and inspection of all horses, with a few exceptions, such as those belonging to royal stables, embassies, police, racing stables, etc.

Given these powers, we must consider what machinery can be set up for working towards the desired end, which is as follows:

To be able to say that every unit of the expeditionary force

VOL. LXXII—No. 425


has its full complement of horses present in the ranks, and this within six days after the order is given to mobilise; that a reserve of 20 per cent. will be forthcoming each succeeding fortnight; and that the Territorial forces will get their horses as soon as the expeditionary force leaves these shores.

Can we do it, are there a sufficient number of horses fit in the country?

It is impossible to say with certainty, though one is inclined. to think so from a glance at the police census; but the probabilities are (and this is based on personal experience) that not one-tenth of the riding and light draught horses shown therein. are suitable for the expeditionary force, from one cause or another.

It must be remembered that horses which are provided for the expeditionary force must be all workably sound, fit in condition, not too young or too old, and suitable for the branch or arm to which they are sent; so that the general officer commanding the forces, probably overseas and consequently dependent on their replenishment from home, can set to work at once unhampered by a lot of animals that are done' at the end of

the second day's march. Mobility is half the battle.

The machinery that is set up in time of peace for the purchase, collection of the horses, and their ultimate distribution, at a time when there is likely to be great stress, must be so perfect that doubt as to their provision and arrival at the various places of mobilisation should be well-nigh impossible, for the safety of the country and its success in war is immensely dependent on it.

In fact, any scheme based on Continental lines (in other words, that of impressment) which is not thorough will not only be disastrous but expensive, in that money spent on half-measures had better not be spent at all.

The problem, therefore, how to get a sufficient number of suitable horses for the different branches of the Army, in the required time, is one which needs deep thought and grasp of a very complex subject, one of great magnitude, in which the consideration of detail is paramount.

The two main factors which form the basis of our organisation are:

(1) Knowledge as to the exact state of our horse supply.
(2) A military classification.

We will take them in order:


Reasons have been given before showing how vital it is to the country's interests that we should keep ourselves well acquainted with the state of our horse supply; but, besides this, a horse census is the foundation on which a military classification is made; it is necessary that the military authorities should

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