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The Kia ora coo-ee : the magazine for the ANZACS in the Middle East, 1918

Equine Veterans

page 12

Equine Veterans.

I feel sure that few readers of this article realize what an important part horses play in the destiny of nations. All great Generals such as Hannibal, Julius Caesar, Alexander, Napoleon and Malborough, spent much thought and trouble over their cavalry; Alexander particularly. He wrote one of the first books on equitation and the care of the horse in war.

Many wonderful horses have had their names handed down in history. The story of Alexander's own horse "Bucephalus" is interesting, Philonicus, the Thesalonian, offered this horse for sale to King Philip, the father of Alexander, for thirteen talents, which equals £2518: 15/- in modern money. The Prince and many others went down to the "Remoun t Depot" to see the trial. The horse proved so vicious and unmanageable that Philip called the deal off and refused to take delivery. Alexander said out loud, "What a horse they are losing, for the sake of skill and spirit to manage him". The King heard him and rated him soundly for appearing to know better than his elders, and asked of him, "Could you manage the horse better?" "I certainly could". "If you fail, what forfeiture will you submit to for your rashness?" asked the elder, "The price of the horse", replied Alexander.

He discarded his mantle and took charge of the horse, and, after a long tussle, rode it a mile out and back again. When he returned, his father said, "Seek another kingdom, my son, that may be worthy of thy abilities, for Macedouia is too small for thee"—and too small it proved, for this wonderful warrior conquered most of the known world. He took his cavalry from Egypt up through Palestine and Syria, through Persia and Mesopotamia, on to India.

He immortalized his cavalry; and we have much in our equitation books that we took from Alexander. He discussed at great length the advantages and disadvantages of the "Tod Sloan" seat and discarded it in favour of the long stirrup for campaigning.

It is no new thing to record the services of war horses. All great campaigns have
"Marcus Aurelius Antonius".

"Marcus Aurelius Antonius".

been responsible for this. Never before, however, has there been such a great cavalry victory as this last in Syria. The staying power of the horse was the deciding factor and to him we must give all just praise and reward. Each Light Horse Regiment should send


a list and history of its horses to the War Records Section. Notification has been sent out to units for this information, but only one unit has responded, The snapshots on this page show the veterans of the 3rd. .Regiment. "Lizzie" the mule is the best known animal in the Regiment or, I might add, the 1st. Light Horse Brigade. She was foaled in the north of South Australia and presented to the Regiment by Mr. Hawker, of sheep fame, Never a day sick or sorry, and lumbered up with the veterinary pack, she has followed the Regiment through all its many fights and long, hard, thirsty rides. Except in action, she is never led, but feeds along at her own pace and trots up to camp in plenty of time to have her nosebag put on. No matter how many Brigades are in camp "Lizzie" would neigh and trot through them all until she found the headquarters line of the 3rd. Regiment.

Many covetous eyes have gazed on "Lizzie", but she has dodged as many wily attempts at capture as she has shells and bombs.

"Marcus Aurelius Antonius," to give him his full name, is off the Staff. He has probably seen more service than any horse in the A.I.F. He went into camp at Albury, "New South Wales, in 1910, and has never been off the horse lines since then, From Albury he went to South Australia, where he enlisted with the 3rd, Australian Light Horse Regiment on the 18th. August, 1914. He embarked for Gallipoli and was shelled on the transport; he failed to make a landing and was returned to Alexandria. He, like the mule "Lizzie", saw the edge of the Western desert at Wadi Natrum, and also Upper Egypt, He has been through the whole of the Sinai and Palestine campaign. On one occasion he was the only horse left out of a group of five when a shell paid a visit at Romani.