It’s official: People in the cavalry were INSANE–and we’ve got proof. Check out this craziness….
At cavalry school, riders learned many important skills, like jumping while holding a lance overhead…
…or jumping a four-foot fence with two horses and a loaded machine gun pack–that doesn’t seem unsafe AT ALL!
Look ma, no hands! A German cavalry officer in training, 1914. [warhorsegazette.blogspot.com]
Sometimes, if actual jumps weren’t available, the cavalry had to get creative.
Capt. Joel L. Stokes with “Demon” and “Winnie Winkle” at Fort Knox in 1931. Stokes commanded the Kentucky Army National Guard’s Troop K, 123rd Cavalry Regiment. [kentuckyguard.wordpress.com]
“Hey Walt, betcha can’t jump that jeep!” Walter J. Schweitzer, Troop “C” 107th Cavalry NG, jumping his horse “Big Cain” over a jeep at Fort Ord, Calif., in 1942. [freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com]
Not to be one-upped… an officer of the 115th Cavalry jumping a Jeep. Courtesy Wyoming State Archives. [tamara-linse.blogspot.com]
This horse does NOT look happy to be jumping a picnic table–or maybe it has something to do with his rider? He might have to repeat a grade in Cavalry School. [prints.national-army-museum.ac.uk]
Sometimes, they had to jump live humans…
The original cross-country “table.” Fort Riley, Kansas. [Public Domain: Library of Congress]
Crotchbuster! A horse-show stunt exhibition at the U.S. Army post Fort Sheridan in 1930. [lakecountyhistory.blogspot.com]
Another bad idea being brought to life at Fort Sheridan, 6th Signal Corps, in 1930. [lakecountyhistory.blogspot.com]
Whiskey, the famed Army horse at Fort Snelling, in 1930. [jumpinghorse.blogfa.com]
…Or even other horses!
Make it stop! Fort Sheridan, 1920. [idaillinois.org]
In cavalry school when your instructor says “Jump,” you ask “How far down?”
Every officer of the Italian Cavalry School in Pinerolo was required to go down “the descent of Mombrone” before they left the school. The 20-foot drop from the window of a ruined castle about three miles from Pinerolo was considered a test of nerve. [lrgaf.org]
More cliff-jump training. [Pinterest]
You also had to learn to ride while standing up, a skill important for photo ops…
These guys are just jumping off a house, no big. From “Riding Forward: Modern Horsemanship for Beginners” written in 1934 by Vladimir Littauer, Captain, 1st Hussars, Russian Imperial Cavalry. [imh.org]
Fort Myer, Virginia, circa 1914. Cpl. Coffey, C Troop. [Shorpy.com]
…And pulverizing the enemy.
The 14th Cavalry entering U.S. Army post Fort Sheridan’s parade grounds in1925. Ekmark photograph.[lakecountyhistory.blogspot.com]
If you had the honor of being sent to represent your country in competition, well, good luck with that!
German cavalry firing from the standing saddle position, 1935. [photosofwar.net]
Are they seriously supposed to jump that whole thing? [needasweetdistraction.tumblr.com]
Forget blue ribbons–just try not to die.
And who can forget Chilean army officer Captain Alberto Larraguibel, who guided his stallion Huaso over an 8’1″ jump in 1949, setting a world high jump record that still stands today. [horsenation.com]
All things considered, though, it could be worse. You could be in the camel cavalry–imagine trying to steer one of those things around a battlefield! No thanks.
The winner of the silver medal at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Captain Thomson (U.S.A.) on “Jenny Camp”, takes the 35th obstacle during the cross-country competition. Out of 50 entries, 27 horses completed the course, three were fatally injured, and two horses were unable to finish on account of lameness. [fotosochi.ru]
The Imperial Camel Corp Brigade was a camel-mounted infantry brigade that the British Empire raised in 1916 during the World War I for service in the Middle East. [wikipedia.org]
In honor of all those cavalrymen who served their country honorably and left the world a better place, GO RIDING.