by Barbara Ellin Fox
Being a lover of horsemanship and history, I can visit The Society of the Military Horse and easily lose track of time for hours. I can’t think of another site that has such a huge collection of articles, facts and thoughts on line. The Society has a group of static page articles that paint a picture of horsemanship when the method of riding and training was beginning to develop in the U.S Military thru the time when the school at Fort Riley was the best in the world and good sportsmanship was as important as honor. Two of my favorite articles are “The Cavalryman and His Horse” written by Lieut. S.C. Robertson in 1883, and “An Army of Horses” by Lou DiMarco via a link to Mr. DiMarco’s web page. “ The Cavalryman and His Horse” speaks about military horsemanship prior to the Fort Riley Cavalry School’s existence and “An Army of Horses” talks about the amazing achievements of men and horses when the school at Fort Riley was in full swing.
But the most engaging feature of The Society of the Military Horse is its forum. This is where discussion occurs not only on almost everything related to the horse and his military history, but on horsemanship; theories, styles, and ideas. And the discussions are not just about U.S. military horse activities. There are conversations about cavalries world wide. My favorite forum topics are about military seat and balanced seat and I’m intrigued by anything that developed at Fort Riley, but I also find the topics about horses during the Indian Wars and Civil War fascinating. And I like to read about the less famous Cavalrymen that became instructors after the Cavalry was dismounted. The forum section for book reviews also gets my attention. I wonder what the horsemen at Fort Riley read and each time I run across a new book list on the Military Horse, I’m off on a search to fill in the missing pieces in my own library.
The moderators on The Society of the Military Horse are the best. They set a tone that I wish was duplicated on other horse forums that I visit throughout the web. The Society of the Military Horse is a place for good manners and gentlemen. And the participants are patient with those of us who have little to contribute and are “strong” with our own opinions at time. The moderators are helpful when it comes to keeping a good topic going and often move an old topic up on the list when they think members will be interested. My impression is that this forum is interested in educating and guiding anyone who is interested in the role of the horse in the military.
Here are the nuts and bolts… The people who join The Society of the Military Horse are usually interested in the military, the horse in the military, the military seat or anything related, and topics are usually on those lines, but there are the occasional “off topic” threads. Many participants are horsemen and women and some are re-enactors.
The website was birthed in 1996 and received its own domain name in 1998. Since it’s been in cyber world for such a long time, The Society of the Military Horse has a pretty good system in place, as well as lots of information that you just won’t learn any where else.
I encourage you to visit The Society of the Military Horse at http:/www.militaryhorse.org to learn more about the history of the Cavalry and the military seat. Be sure to plan a few hours to peruse all of the categories. You’ll have the opportunity to learn about the horse in the military during wartime and peace, and in competition from very interesting people. As an unintended bonus, you’ll learn a whole lot about American history…..
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