chapter
3 Pages

Introduction

Churchill’s comment is a sentiment with which most riders would probably agree and one that succinctly summarizes much of the passion involved when riding and dealing with horses. In all likelihood, it was Churchill’s passion for horses that ensured the return of thousands of war horses to the shores of Britain at the end of World War I. At the time, Churchill was the Secretary of State and had received word that the rescue attempt of what were generally considered the unsung heroes of the war was failing. Several memos later, from a man who was not known for mincing his words, the horses were returned to Britain at a rate of nine thousand per week. The recovery of tens of thousands of horses from a terrible fate on mainland Europe undoubtedly struck a chord with horse-and animal-lovers back in those days just as much as it would today. In fact, in 2011, film director Steven Spielberg took up the theme of war horses and heroes to great effect in his box-office hit War Horse. The film tells the story of young Albert, who forms a strong friendship with the Thoroughbred colt ‘Joey’ only to see him being sold off to the army and shipped to the continent. After years of hardship in battle and against all odds, horse and previous owner are reunited in the end, fuelling the notion that the bond between humans and horses is both aweinspiring and wondrous.