Skinner’s Horse and the Cavalry of Empire



With the forthcoming anniversary of the Great War we have a unique opportunity to examine and commemorate the contribution of India to the ‘war to end all wars’ and the role of the horse in the first industrialized conflict.

See Skinner’s Horse – Cavalry of Empire for more information and a selection of beautiful images.

Skinner’s Horse is proud to bring you the Cavalry of Empire show to raise awareness of the Indian and other commonwealth cavalry on the Western Front, the role of the horse in the conflict and also to show how many women did their bit for the war effort with the training of horses for the front.

In this show we present a range of mounted soldiery from all corners of the British Empire including India, Australia, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand and show you the arms and equipment they carried to war. We also show these cavalrymen in action, displaying the skills that made them famous and how they adapted to the changing face of war from 1914 to1918.

Alongside the demonstration of the cavalryman and his horse on the front line we also show you war on the home front with a look at the role of the Army Remount Depot. Due to the shortage of manpower a number of these depots were staffed and run by women, undertaking the training of horse for services on the front and by doing so breaking many of the social taboos and paving the way for women’s emancipation. We share with you the history of their role in the war and show you the training of the remounts – preparing the horses for regimental service.

India and the Commonwealth during the Great War

During First World War India contributed a number of divisions and independent brigades to the European, Mediterranean and the Middle East theatres of war. Over one million Indian troops would serve over-seas, of whom 62,000 died and another 67,000 were wounded. Two Divisions of India Cavalry fought over-seas and served with great distinction in Europe and the Middle East.

As well as from India, cavalrymen from all over the Empire answered Britain’s call in 1914 and the Western Front saw men from different cultures, languages and religions ride side by side in a untied cause. Skinner’s Horse seeks to raise awareness of Commonwealth soldiers participation in the war and to honour the memory of those who sacrificed themselves in the conflict.

The Ladies’ War – Women and the Army Remount Depots

The great war brought about profound changes for women in society. Many will be familiar with women working in munitions factories to help the war effort but less is known about their contribution outside this role. Around 200 women joined the Land Army to work at Army Remount depots breaking and training horses for service at the front. Often from ‘well to do’ backgrounds, these women took on all the roles traditionally filled by men at these establishments, paving the way for social change and eventual women’s emancipation.

More information about Skinners Horse can be found here.

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