HORSE, Military. The relative import ance of the horse as a factor in the progress of civilization has been somewhat reduced by the introduction of steam and electricity, but trit chanical devices such as the bicycle and auto mobile are not likely to wholly supplant the indispensable ally of man for war purposes. The value of cavalry has not, within the cen tury, been so fully recognized as during the South African campaigns, where the supply of horses reached enormous proportions. The kind of horse for cavalry and artillery use is controlled by the character of service for which he is to be used. Hardy range horses are desirable in a campaign where the question of forage supply is a difficult one, but, if fully armed and equipped men of average size are to be transported and held in readiness for mounted combat with opposing cavalry, then larger and better trained horses are desirable.
The source from which cavalry horses are obtained differs ..in various countries. Some European nations breed and raise theit re mounts, while others provide the services of selected stallions gratuitously to breeders, the foals being held subject to purchase by the state. The American plan differs from the European practice and involves only the inspec tion of such animals as are presented by contractors. This encourages all farmers to breed a fair class of horses, and whenever the requirements of the markets increase the breed ing usually increases until prices sometimes fall below a level at which colts can be profitably reared. Only a small percentage of horses raised in the United States are adapted to the requirements of cavalry service. This arises from the preference of the farmer for heavy horses to draw large loads ; the cavalry service requires animals of particular conformation and character. The inspection of remounts for soundness and confirmation is a very important duty, demanding technical training and intelli gence. It requires judgment, much instruction and long practice to correctly estimate the rela tive value of various points of the horse and to determine whether the good qualities counter balance the existing defects. Contractors do not usually present ideal animals, hut the market from 'which they draw is so large that there is no serious difficulty in supplying the remounts annually required for the United. States
cavalry.. t In ,European armies horsed are accepted at four years of age, and sometimes under that age. It has been found in practice in the United States preferable to buy no horses under six years of age for immediate use in field service.' Younger horses may be accepted during peace when there is no likelihood of immediate hard service, but they are subject to influenza or shipper's fever to a degree which often renders them unserviceable for many months. The foreign buyers of our horses in 1914, 1915 and 1916 were not as a rule able to get precisely the class of horses they preferred. Good points in a cavalry horse are not mere matters of beauty, but shapes which, on mechanical prin ciples, are likely to answer required ends. Cavalry horses must have certain qualifications, the most important of which are the possession of sufficient mobility to execute tactical vres at varying degrees of speed and the ability to stand hard service while carrying weight. The weight of trooper and equipment averages about one-fourth the weight of the horse Ability to carry flesh under stress of short rations is a commendable quality in a cavalry horse, since it enables him to stand hard work and to avoid a sore back. The requirements demanded in the cavalry horse of the United' States are UThe cavalry horse must be sound and well bred; gentle under the saddle; free from vicious habits; with free and prompt action at the walk, trot and gallop; without blemish or defect ; of a kind disposition; with easy mouth and gait, and otherwise to conform to the following description: °A. gelding of uniform and hardy color; in good condition; from .15% to 16 hands high; weight not less than 5450 nor more than 1,150 pounds; from four to eight years old; head and ears small ; forehead broad; eyes large and prominent; vision perfect in every respect; shoulders long and sloping well back; chest full, broad and deep; fore legs straight and standing well under; barrel large and increasing from girth toward flank; withers elevated; back short and straight; loins and haunches broad and muscular; hocks well bent and under the horse; pasterns slanting and feet small and sound.* See also HORSE, RIDING AND DRIVING. ,