with Horse and Hound

Remembering the Irish War Horse

Fascinated by our summer series of articles about the WWI war horses on the occasion of the centennial of that horrific conflict, Noel Mullins, a regular contributor to Foxhunting Life, sent us this story that he wrote for this year’s Souvenir Programme of the Dublin Horse Show. Noel is a Member of the Royal Dublin Society Library & Archives Committee. His story is about Gladeye, a field hunter that went to war, survived, and returned to jump at the Dublin Horse Show in 1926.

War Horse Gladeye  Brigadier Walter BrookeWar Horse Gladeye and Brigadier Walter Brooke

This year marks the centenary of World War I, and ceremonies around the world remember the nine million human casualties lost in the conflict. But it is often forgotten that eight million War Horses also lost their lives, going through the most terrifying experiences known to any living creature. War was declared on the July 28, 1914 and was expected to end by Christmas 1914, but sadly it lasted another four years until November 11, 1918.

Probably the two most well known Irish War Horses in history were Emperor Napoleon’s white horse Marengo and the Duke of Wellington’s Copenhagen who met at the Battle of Waterloo. Both are said to have been purchased at an Irish horse fair. War Horses in the mounted cavalry units were deployed in many battles in the first years of WWI, amongst them, the battles of Mons, First and Second Battles of Ypres, Festubert, Aubers Ridge, Marne, Vimy Ridge, the Somme Hill, and Cambrai.

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