A thought for the horses
They left this land with rifle in hand
On troop ships heading North.
With mounts gathered up from across the land
They were Light horsemen of course.
From Palestine to the banks of the Rhine
They could hold their heads up high
For their country and for liberty,
they weren’t afraid to die!
From thoroughbreds to Walers,
brumbies mustered on mountains high-
They proudly carried troopers far and wide.
And the troopers rode them hard, but they groomed them all with pride- from the deserts, to the marshes there in France.
At Beersheba, in a hot and dusty land, a legend had begun.
Horses travelled with heads held low beneath the blazing sun.
No drink for the horses, little for the men.
Thirsty troopers gave their horse the last of their precious water
With as much love and affection as a mother for a daughter.
At the end of the war, all tired and sore, the troopers were called in and told…
“You’re off home boys . Take your saddles and kit..
Horses must be sold. For they cannot make the trip.”
One last ride did many take.-.a trooper and his trusty mate-
out into the sandhills flying, one excited, while one was crying.
Soon they’d hear a rifle crack
The trooper would walk slowly back.
A rough ending, do you think ?Of course.
But better off dead than a hungry plough horse.
So when you see horses at club or racetrack-
let your thoughts carry you to
When 160,000 horses went overseas,
And only one came back.
Paul H April 2008
A poem I wrote as a tribute to the horses and men of our Lighthorse brigades!