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"They shoot horses, don't they?"


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#1 Marco

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 08:29 PM

Until May 3, 2012 there is a small but interesting exhibition in Brugge (Belgium) about horses and mules in the great war. Among the exhibits are the skeleton of a horse excavated at Poperinge-Sappenleen at the site of a former Transport Station.

Also there is a skeleton of a mule excavated at Reningelst on the site known as ‘Fuseville-Fork’. Both animals were shot in the head. Also on display bones showing war-wounds and skeletal deformities due to heavy burden. In all a good exhibition showing what they suffered for us humans.


Kind regards,

Marco

#2MIL0776-06.jpg

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#2 Paul Reed

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 08:43 PM

Marco - I heard about this exhibition the other day. Where is it being held in Bruges?

#3 kaiserknight

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 11:08 PM

Rather poignant and moving.

#4 Marco

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 06:44 AM

Hello paul,

The exhibitionis held at the Militaire Kapel (itself an interesting and poignant place where the crypt contains ashes from Dachau), Kartuizerinnenstraat 2, Brugge. It is open from 10:00 - 18:00 hrs. Entry is free.

Kind regards,

Marco

#5 Marco

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 06:51 AM

Poignant indeed. I believe I recently heard in a documentary that the caretaker of the horse had to remove its hooves when it was dead so he could proove it was dead? This led on occasions to some emotions where the caretaker had formed a bond with the horse/mule. The remains on show did not have hooves...

Regards,

Marco

#6 Paul Reed

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 07:43 AM

Thanks Marco - much appreciated.

I interviewed several Great War veterans who cried their eyes out thinking of the horses and mules they lost in the war all those years before; it's something I know some people sniff at but they are usually people who have never had a strong bond with an animal.

#7 Steven Broomfield

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 07:56 AM

Poignant indeed. I believe I recently heard in a documentary that the caretaker of the horse had to remove its hooves when it was dead so he could proove it was dead? This led on occasions to some emotions where the caretaker had formed a bond with the horse/mule. The remains on show did not have hooves...

Regards,

Marco

Not sure about supply horses, but cavalry troop horses were branded with a number on a hoof (not sure which but I think a front one), and the rider was supposed to bring the branded hoof back in the case of the animal's death, to prove he hadn't sold it, lost it or otherwise disposed.

However, I can't really see that working in the GW context, and the rider would certainly not be expected to remove all 4.

Again I suspect not relevant to the GW, but famous horses (such as Cardigan'ssplendid chestnut, "Ronald") tended to have hooves removed as mementoes; frequently they were turned into snuff boxes. HorsePower (the KRH Museum in Winchester) has one of Ronald's hooves, plus one of a horse named "Violette", which served with the 11th Hussars in the GW. She was sold to the officer whose mount she was (Lieutenant Hartman), who kept her until her death at the age of, IIRC, 22. Her hoof, silver mounted with a splendid inscription, now sits alongside her portrait, in the regimental museum.

#8 Stephen Garnett

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 08:24 AM

Dear All,

My great-grandfather enlisted in 1915 and retired from the army in 1947. My grandfather, his son, served 30 years as a soldier, primarily in Germany during the 60s and 70s.

I was very lucky to grow up with 'young' grandparents (I spoke to three yesterday) and I remember my grandfather (now dead) telling me that one morning in 1947, in India, his father shook him awake and told him to follow. They walked out to the regimental stables and my grandfather was told to stay still and watch. His father then commenced shooting the horses, over 100.

My great-grandfather, Charles Reginald Garnett, then walked back to my grandfather, who must have been 14/15 and with tears in his eyes said "That is what human beings are capable of. They are nothing but cruel, heartless creatures. Remember." They then left, leaving both the dead horses and within a few weeks, India itself.

Many thanks for sharing this thread. Though relatively recent, such archaeology and its significance, should never be forgotten.

Kind regards,

Steve Garnett

#9 cdr

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 09:15 AM

http://www.mendop.org/mendop.html


This is a link to the website of this exhibition (only in Flemish tough)



Carl

#10 chrislock

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 01:10 PM

Poignant indeed. I believe I recently heard in a documentary that the caretaker of the horse had to remove its hooves when it was dead so he could proove it was dead? This led on occasions to some emotions where the caretaker had formed a bond with the horse/mule. The remains on show did not have hooves...

Regards,

Marco


Hi Marco.

I have learned this morning via the Household Cavalry the following: perhaps this is why your horse has no feet??

It makes sense rather than the offered reason don't you think?

The farrier/horseman's axe.


Originally the axe had two functions - the spike on the axe was used
to humanely put severely injured horses out of their misery, and the
sharp axe blade was used to chop off the deceased horses' feet.

The purpose of this was to account - in Regimental records - for
animals killed in action.

On Household Cavalry horses, three of the hooves currently carry
the horse's army number (near hind), Squadron number (near fore),
and Regimental initials (off fore)

In other horse regiments the hoofs simply carry the horses regimental/Corps number etc.

Chris

#11 Marco

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 05:06 PM

Hi Chris,

Actually your account isn't - in its basis - that different from what I had heard. It does provide more detail. Thanks for that.

Regards,

Marco

#12 KGB

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 06:02 PM

"It is the the sea that is cruel lad, it is men that are cruel".

#13 Stoppage Drill

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 06:10 PM

Marco, there is no significance in missing hooves. They are formed of keratin, not bone, and will decay.

#14 auchonvillerssomme

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 06:12 PM

In the field next to Thistle Dump there were bones of horses including shod hooves.

#15 khaki

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 06:21 PM

Marco, there is no significance in missing hooves. They are formed of keratin, not bone, and will decay.

From what I could see from the web display, there were horse shoes in a case, possibly recovered from the same animal, minus as you say, the decayed hooves.

khaki

#16 Stoppage Drill

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 06:33 PM

khaki, auchonvillers, sort it out between yourselves, but equine physiology is what it is ! Hooves are decadent, and will rot even during life if the animal is not properly cared for.

#17 auchonvillerssomme

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 06:47 PM

Gosh you did take my statement to heart, neck in, I didn't say that to prove horses hooves don't rot, they do and if you notice the time stamps I hadn't even read your post. So anyway hooves rot and so do fingernails and toenails, but you can still find both in the right conditions. Phew this is like being at home!

#18 khaki

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 06:49 PM

khaki, auchonvillers, sort it out between yourselves, but equine physiology is what it is ! Hooves are decadent, and will rot even during life if the animal is not properly cared for.

I think if you read my response post #15 again carefully, you might see that I agreed with you???
khaki

#19 Marco

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 07:40 PM

Thanks for the replies chaps.

Regards,

Marco