Light Cavalry Mounts

Unlike the French Hussars and Chasseurs, who are referred to as riding small horses often no larger than ponies, the Inspection Reports reveal that the horses of British Light Dragoon and Hussar regiments differed only slightly from those ridden by the 'heavies'. For example, the report on the 10th Hussars for 1813 lists:

Number of horses, by size:
16 hands 4 horses
15 ½ hands 74 horses
15 hands 138 horses
14 ½ hands 83 horses
Total 299 horses
The age of the horses:
12 years 5 horses
11 years 6 horses
10 years 16 horses
9 years 20 horses
8 years 34 horses
7 years 42 horses
6 years 42 horses
5 years 65 horses
4 years 54 horses
3 years 15 horses
Total 299 horses

A comparison with those of the Scots Greys shows that the majority of the latter were 15 hands with an equally large proportion being 15½. A similar comparison with the age of the horses confirms that a majority were 5 years old.

The Inspecting General found that the horse of the 10th were of good appearance and well nourished, although nine horses were found to be unfit for service.


Each year the regiment sent a party to acquire new young horses. The remount party was proportionate to the number to be purchased - usually one man to two horses, exclusive on an NCO, a quartermaster and farrier were always detailed to accompany the party, and if more than 20 horses were to be purchased an officer went also.

Each man took two snaffles, two horse cloths and two surcingles; the ridden horse always had two horse cloths on it for the greatest care was taken not to injure the young horses back. The officer of Quartermaster had to ensure that the young horses did not travel more than 18 to 20 miles a day, and to see that they were fed at the full allowances. Cold mashes and an ounce of nitre was given twp or three times a week.

When the remounts were received from the dealer they had their numbers cut on the offside, and a proper register was started. When the party arrived back at the regiment the register was handed to the adjutant, and the commanding officer then inspected the purchase. The veterinary officer accompanied him on this parade and noted any particular mounts that he considered to be unsound. They were then gently bled and were given two or three doses of a mild physic.

To accord to the regulations a dragoon horse was to be between 15h1. and 15h3., but it was often very difficult to find a complete purchase of horses of that calibre. The best horses of the purchase were selected for the sergeants or the 'rough riders'.

Their first lessons were gentle, by order, and never exceeded more than one hour and the remounts were only allocated to the troops when the riding-master was quite satisfied with their progress.