CAVALRY REMOUNT HORSES,
LATE CAPTAIN NOLAN.
REVISED BY THE AUTHOR
PARKER SON AND BOURN
TESTIMONY OF GRATEFUL RESPECT AND ESTEEM,
THIS WORK IS INSCRIBED,
HIS FORMER AIDE-DE-CAMP,
L. E. NOLAN
CAPTN. 15th HUSSARS.
ARMY AND NAVY
10th August, 1852.
SINCE this book was, put in the printer's, hands, I have been travelling on the Continent. Every where I found that Monsieur Baucher's new Méthode had excited much attention, and not a little jealousy, amongst the followers of the old system. Books and pamphlets had been published, trying to turn into ridicule the bold intruder who, in two months, brings his horses to do what years could not accomplish in the old school.
In France, Baucher's Méthode was subjected to a trial, which, according to the reports of many members of the committee, were eminently successful. The system was rejected notwithstanding; but some of the bending lessons - the most important part of his Méthode - were retained, and are now made use of in the French Cavalry.
In what I have seen in the different foreign riding schools which I have visited, I have found no reason to change my opinion regarding the advantages to be derived from the application of part of Monsieur Baucher's Méthode to the purposes of cavalry; and I have endeavoured to graft upon it what I found best in practice, namely, first to bring out the horse's action, improve his paces, and give power and freedom to his movements; then use Monsieur Baucher's Lessons, which enable us to control that action, and thus regulate the horse's paces, and render him handy and obedient. The troop horses in our service are not under proper control. The daring impetuous courage of our men is thrown away in action, for the horse will not second the rider's efforts with that speed and those sudden volts which enable the horseman to close upon and conquer his opponent. Does the fault lie with our men or with the horses?
Most certainly not with either. Our men are superior to those of other nations, and there is no quality in which the well-bred English horse does not excel, no performance in which he cannot beat all competition. No, it is the system which is at fault. To ascertain and expose the faults of an existing state of things is easier than to substitute a different one, which shall not be liable to greater objections; a trial of the system which I advocate, will, at least, prove interesting, and I hope establish beyond a doubt the great advantages to be derived from it.
The late Marshal Soult, who took great interest in it, and witnessed several of the trials made by order of the French Government, was heard to say repeatedly, ``If English Dragoons were taught to break in their horses in this manner, they would prove the most formidable Cavalry that the world ever beheld, for it would give them that command over their horses in which they are so deficient."
Galignani, 8th August, 1853.
"The Emperor has conferred a pension of 2,400 francs on Monsieur Baucher, the well-known professor of horsemanship, as a recompense for the services rendered by him in the Cavalry School at Saumur."
Extracts from a letter of LIEUT.-GENERAL JOHN AITCHISON.
London, April 8th, 1852.
My Dear Sir,
* * * * * * * the system established and followed by you was eminently successful in training horses for the ranks (in the 15th Hussars).
I saw several remounts of seventy and eighty horses of different breeds and countries, and all appeared to be equally well broken in in a very short time; and it is due to you to state, that your successor, Lieut. LEE, who followed out your system, was perfectly successful in breaking in in a short time all the different breeds of horses for the ranks.
Upon one occasion I suddenly required a ride to be shewn to me in the school, at a time of the year when no riding dril1 (except for recruits) was carried on, and for this volunteers of two men from every troop turned out, who, without preparation of any sort, went through all that is required in Her Majesty's Regulations, and also performing several difficult and intricate figures at a gallop, and picked up basket heads from the ground at full speed, shewing how much they were at home on horseback, and how perfectly they could manage their horses.
I may add, that while the regiment was in the division under my command from July 1845 to October 1851, I never recognized any man but one who had ever been before me at any of the inspection rides, an<l I believe from inquiries made at the time, that he was the only man I had ever seen twice at these rides. * *
My last review of the regiment took place at the half-yearly inspection of October 1851, at which time two squadrons were mounted on geldings and two on entire horses*, and I reported that it was the best review I had ever seen the regiment make at Bangalore, that the movements were executed with celerity and precision, and that the entire horses and geldings all worked so steadily and close, I could not observe any difference between them.
TO CAPTN. L. E.
* "It was supposed that stallions could not be made to work as close and as steadily in the ranks as geldings: the entire horses when brought into contact, if they once got their noses together, reared, fought, and broke from the ranks.~ - Note by Author.
London, U. S. C., 27th March, 1852.
MY DEAR NOLAN,
* * * * * * In regard to the Breaking and Training of Horses and men in the riding school or manége, I have to remark, that by your excellent system the horses, instead of being eight or ten months there, were all ready in less than two months, were brought simultaneously, and were equally obedient and handy. The work was so light that none suffered from the training.
Of eighty horses broken in one season, whilst I held the command of the 15th Hussars, seventy-nine were ranged in the ranks in six weeks. I passed them myself, having seen them go through the whole of the lessons - cantering, passage, changes of leg, &c.; they walked well, trotted steadily, and I remarked, particularly, their fine carriage, and the facility with which they reined back and closed to either hand, my approbation of which I mentioned in regimental orders, and which I attributed to the system pursued by you, which system was also attended by other advantages; the men had greater confidence in feeling their horses to be so much under control, that they worked better in the field, and would prove more formidable in single combat. By this system a large number of horses could be broken in in a very short space of time, and it would prove advantageous, if generally adopted in our cavalry.
The 15th Hussars, at that time, had been composed of men of different arms, and I do not hesitate to state, that by your mode of manége they were all brought to the same uniform position and seat on horseback.
Letter from LIEUT.-COLONEL G. W. KEY, 15th Hussars.
London, 5th April, 1852.
My Dear Nolan,
As you tell me in your letter that you are about to publish a small work on Military Equitation, and ask me for my opinion of the system followed by you for breaking in the remounts of the 15th Hussars, I lose no time in complying with your request, and in stating what I know from practical experience to be the case, that it is a most excellent system. Its advantages are numerous. The chief, perhaps, is the short time required under it to render the horse in every respect perfect in manége, and fit for his work in the field, either in squadron or when skirmishing. The system is so simple and so gradual that no evil effects result from it; and may be acquired most easily by any dragoon, enabling each man to break in his own horse thoroughly. The evident and rapid progress creates an interest which renders this duty of the soldier a pleasure and never a toil. I cannot write nearly all I think of the system, but all that I do say in its praise I can say with confidence, for I have carefully considered it, practised it, and seen its beneficial results. Upwards of 300 horses of the regiment have been broken in (each by his owner) on this system; and, if my memory serves me correctly, all having progressed together, with perhaps two or three exceptions, were simultaneously dismissed from drill under three months, rest-days included, fit for all hussar purposes, wel1 mouthed, well balanced, and under proper control. Such of my own horses as were broken in on this system by you were, to my mind, perfect chargers, and some I know belonging to others were more highly finished even than mine. It is not to be expected that every dragoon is to be a perfect riding master, or that his horse should be of the haute école; but it is greatly to be desired that every dragoon should be able to break in his own horse, to have him under thorough control, and to ride him with confidence and pleasure. This can easily be obtained by the system you pursued, and it perfectly succeeded with horses of various descriptions and breeds - Arab, Cape, Persian, Australian, and the country-bred horse of India - this last the least tractable of any; and it must be remembered that all these horses were quite unbroken when they joined the regiment, and unaccustomed to Europeans.
Captn. L. E. Nolan,