US Cavalry Weight Limits

Discussion in 'Horse Health' started by TuffysTreatMan, Jan 8, 2009.

  1. TuffysTreatMan

    TuffysTreatMan Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2008
    Messages:
    327
    Likes Received:
    53
    Interesting information from 'Horse, Saddles, and Bridles', by Colonel William Carter, 1902. The book goes into great detail on lessons learned in the Civil and Indian Wars regarding maintaining horses, endurance, equipment, and standard practices in the U.S. Cavalry.


    The U.S. Cavalry saddle weighed ..... 17 lbs.

    Total equipment weight (including saddle, guns, boots, etc) .... 90 lbs.

    Maximum allowed weight of Cavalry trooper .... 165 lbs.

    Prefered weight of Cavalry trooper .... 130 to 150 lbs.

    Total weight on horse .... 220 to 255 lbs.

    Average weight of US Cavalry horse (10 regiments) ... 1052 lbs.
     






  2. idlewild

    idlewild Senior Member+

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2005
    Messages:
    6,835
    Likes Received:
    710
    Yup, that's how it went. And imagine, when on campaign having to tote around not only several days rations for yourself, but grain rations for your horse as well. Cavalry was used as a scout during the civil war, and that often meant they were away from supply trains. They couldn't have a wagon slowing them down so they would forage off the land. Granted most of the east coast is fairly lush so forage for the horses could be easily found to add to the grain ration. And if you didn't get back to resupply before your rations run out... well tough luck, you have no food or you or your horse unless you can get some from local residents.

    Haha, lemme tell ya... when you have those mac saddles packed down, they do weigh a LOT!! :wink:
     
  3. TuffysTreatMan

    TuffysTreatMan Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2008
    Messages:
    327
    Likes Received:
    53
    Funny, at a maximum trooper weight of 165 lbs, John Wayne would not have been Cavalry.

    The book compared the U.S. Cavalry to European nations, and we had the lightest cavalry packs and trooper weight, learned through hard lessons on the frontier. Other countries would have 120 lbs of equipment and accept cavalry men up to 187 lbs. They also designated between light and heavy cavalry based on the weight of horse, equipment, and rider. Though the U.S. Cavalry didn't divide units into light and heavy regiments, for desert campaignes they did select smaller horses because they would hold up better.
     
  4. TuffysTreatMan

    TuffysTreatMan Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2008
    Messages:
    327
    Likes Received:
    53

    Are you doing reenacting?
    If so, where is your regiment?
     
  5. idlewild

    idlewild Senior Member+

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2005
    Messages:
    6,835
    Likes Received:
    710
    He was also faaaar too tall. The average height of a cavalry trooper was in the 5'5" to 5'7" range. Men weren't as tall back then as they are now. As much as I love John Wayne, he represents everything a cavalry trooper of the time wasn't :p

    And need less food and water, something hard coming on the frontier. They also quickly learned the values of the hardy indian pony. Did you know that the original appaloosa breed was quite literally destroyed by the US Government because it was so feared as a war horse? It could run circles around any cavalry mount and gave the indians far the advantage.

    Yes I do.
    I do FAR western theater reenacting. I'm located in Colorado. My unit does both Civil War and Indian War era reenacting. We have two companies here in the state, and both are apart of the Old Fort Griffin Memorial Regiment (www.fortgriffin.com). If you'd like more info just PM me :)
     
  6. mytega

    mytega Senior Member+

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2007
    Messages:
    2,011
    Likes Received:
    197
    Do you have photos?

    My husband used to reenact (at Gettysburg) and though he did not ride, he worked around the horses that pulled the cannons.
     
  7. idlewild

    idlewild Senior Member+

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2005
    Messages:
    6,835
    Likes Received:
    710
    Very cool, my dad does Artillery reenactment, but he's not as into it as I am.

    Pictures you say.... I have some in my gallery.
    But check out this gallery, this is from our most recent Indian Fight. We go up for a week every summer into the mountains of wyoming or south dakota and play cowboys and indians for an entire week, ala 1870s style. It's great!
    http://s523.photobucket.com/albums/w354/BDIF_Cavalry/BDIF 2008/
    I have plenty more from other events we do if you want to see.
     
    mytega likes this.
  8. TuffysTreatMan

    TuffysTreatMan Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2008
    Messages:
    327
    Likes Received:
    53

    That sounds like fun ... if I had more time I might get into reenacting. I believe there are some regiments here in Oregon. I'd like to go check out some of the 'battles', I saw one and it was impressive.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2009
  9. TuffysTreatMan

    TuffysTreatMan Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2008
    Messages:
    327
    Likes Received:
    53

    This makes history come alive, and doing a reenactment at a place like Gettysburg must be a powerful and emotional experience.

    As far as those cannon, I saw a unit of reenactors with a nice heavy cannon, complete in uniforms and equipment, they made quite a sight, and noise! That cannon had quite a deep kaboom and blew smoke rings, which impressed me alot.


    .
     
  10. buck1173

    buck1173 Senior Member+

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2007
    Messages:
    2,538
    Likes Received:
    193
    oh how neat! I travel PA quite a bit flyfishing and I see reenactment camps set up all the time... what a cool thing. So glad there are people preserving that era! I find it fascinating :)
     






Share This Page