Army Horses circa 1900
|Strength on landing||406|
|Picked up in the veldt||222|
|Sent to veterinary hospitals||1600|
|Returned to depots||202|
On the 30th June 1902, there remained 540 remounts with the regiment. Lieut. Head's estimate of the distance covered was 6,116 miles in a straight line. He considered that 'reconnaissance and scouting would probably double this, making the total distance covered 12,232 miles; and that 'On this liberal basis one horse was used up for every 31/2 miles covered'. He concludes 'I hope next time we shall do better'. It is doubtful if men who have taken part in operations of this sort will disagree with the above figures showing mileage. No South African road or any other unfenced wagon track is ever straight for more than a few hundred yards and troops on widely spaced flanking duties can easily cover double the distance marched by the main body.
The wastage of saddles was appalling long marches on insufficient food and water broke the troop horses down in very large numbers and a horse foundered and left out on the flanks of an advance on a wide front meant a saddle lost, for the enemy, or the nearest African, would never leave a saddle lying. In one trek of 175 miles in bitter cold with hardly any grazing, one Regular regiment lost 70 sets of saddlery, perforce abandoned.
The late Major Wilton kept the cutting, as an example of what the troop horse was actually carrying on active service.
South Africa. Weighed in the Field, from The Times of the 7th March 1901. Name of the Regiment not given.
|Saddle, wallets carbine bucket, etc||31lb 6oz|
|Shoes and nails||2lb|
|Ammunition for carbine, 150 rounds||9lb 6oz|
|Bandolier, mess tin and waterbottle (full)||7lb 4oz|
|Knife, etc. and towel||8oz|
|2 days' groceries and 1 days meat||3lb 4oz|
|1 days' corn (horse feed)||10lb|
|Great coat, forage nets, saddle blanket and numnah||27lb|
|Average weight of man||166lb|
|Grand Total||281lb 2oz|
|Or 20 stone 1lb|
The average weight carried by 'the enemy' would be about 16 stones and many of their men would have two ponies apiece.