Specifications of the U.S. Remount Service

In 1908, the United States Remount Service was activated.  Horse specifications, purchase, conditioning and issue were put under one government bureau.  The Remount Service was staffed by career military men who were aware of the duties that a horse must fulfill.  The goal was to provide the army with a mount which would give long, efficient service.

-  Cavalry mounts were to be a functional, well-balanced horse that stood 15 – 15.2 hands and weighed between 1,000 and 1,200 pounds. 

-  The animal had to have a deep heart girth to provide plenty of lung capacity and well-defined withers to keep the saddle in place. 

-  Legs had to have sufficient bone to stand up under long hours of marching, sloping pasterns to provide an easy ride and round, hard feet. 

-  Geldings, and that is all that the army would purchase for troop service, had to be three years of age or older, meet the conformation, soundness and color criteria, well-broken and ready to use.  In a large group, geldings got along better with each other than a mixed saddle string would. 

-  Geldings were to be bay, brown, black, chestnut or sorrel, with a minimum of white markings.  Solid colored horses were not only easier to find but presented a more uniform appearance when massed in troops than did lighter or varicolored animals.  They were also harder for an enemy to see at a distance or against vegetation. 

-  Only outstanding gray horses were considered and had to be either a school or Olympic prospect. 

2008.8.216, 2008.8.126, 2008.8.52, Photos Courtesy of Phil Livingston