U.S. Army Remount Service

Founded in 1918 the United States Remount Service systematically began breeding horses for the U.S. Cavalry.  As a part of the Quartermaster Corps, its roots go back to the expansion of the Union Army during the early going of the Civil War.  Thoroughbred horses played a vital role in the U.S. Cavalry and Artillery.  Military vehicles were relatively new and prone to problems.  Horses were invaluable in transporting materials to the front lines.

Most sports were suspended during World War I & II, as most sportsmen and athletes enlisted to fight in the war(s).  But around the world, horse racing was allowed to continue, albeit amid controversy and political pressure calling for it to be abandoned.  This was avoided as influential members of government argued that recreational and morale-building  benefits of the sport outweighed the negative.  It gave hope to the people who were consumed by a determined effort to enjoy their lives as much as they could, in an era when they really didn’t know how much time they had.

There was also a quid pro quo at work here, as the army began in 1918 to try and actively engage professional horse breeders to supply the U.S. Remount Service with quality horses.  In 1921 the Remount Service was more aggressive when it asked the owners of “high-class registered thoroughbreds” to add their stallions to their breeding programs.  There was nothing in writing, but the implication seemed to be that if the racing industry helped provide horses to the war effort the government would allow race tracks to continue to operate.

Eight million horses died in World War I and twice as many soldiers.  Memorial Day is but one day set aside to honor soldiers who have died for America.  DRB is forever humbled and grateful to those (both two & four legged) who have made the ultimate sacrifice in bygone eras as well as today.  Thank you.

 

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