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  • Writer's pictureThe Paladins


This article is about how to travel short distances by horse. No, this is not a joke. Horses are superb in military theatre. Nobody uses the cavalry anymore within the strict meaning of the word. But if your aim is to cover short distances over flat land (40 to 80 kilometres), consider a horse. They have many advantages. They can and prefer to travel off road, galloping across fields at many times the speed a human could walk it. They can travel at night. They are undetectable while they stay off road. And you can take a break whenever necessary and then keep on going.

Obviously they are no good in engagements, as they will just be shot. The Poles learned that, sending cavalry to meet German tanks in 1939. But this series of articles is not for the benefit of military people. It is for civilians within combat zones, seeking to travel and to stay alive and therefore avoiding engagements. For this, horses are are second to none.

  1. A decent horse can travel between 80 and 160 kilometres in a day, galloping over rough terrain (unploughed fields, etcetera) that you would struggle to cover 20 kilometres a day on foot.

  2. Horses can travel at up to 50 kilometres per hour.

  3. Their food and water needs are very simple; they will probably find them for themselves (taking you with them).

  4. You need to learn how to saddle and bridle a horse but this takes about 10 minutes to learn. Take your choice from the following videos.


  6. Horses do not have exhaust pipes (save in the figurative sense of the phrase), and are virtually undetectable to military equipment.

  7. It takes about an hour to learn how to ride a horse. Just saddle the horse, mount it, and let the horse free (with you on its back) in a large open space. You will soon learn how to persuade it where you want to go as opposed to where it wants to go.

  8. Riding a horse without a bridle is a particular skill, that mainly involves pulling on the horse's main to communicate with it the direction in which you want to go.

  9. Do not ride a horse without horseshoes in good condition. Do not apply horseshoes yourself; it is tricky work that needs high expertise.

  10. Saddle bags, the usual way of having horses carry your belongings, are a little unusual these days but you can mount a horse with a large rucksack on your own back.

  11. You have to be fairly hardy to ride a horse for two to three hours a day with a full rucksack on your back. If it is your first experience, day 2 will be particularly painful on your inner legs.

  12. Horses have no objections if you discharge firearms while sitting on them if they are galloping at speed (but grip the saddle and stirrups with your legs and feet to avoid recoil knocking you off the horse - particularly if you are firing a high recoil weapon). However if someone fires at horses, they can become distressed so be ready for them to lift their front hooves in the air with lots of neighing. If/when this happens, keep a firm grip on the horse and do not fall off. The horse will calm down after a few seconds.

  13. Do not ride horses along paved roads. They do not like travelling at speed on paved roads, so they will trot which is probably not what you want.

  14. Because you will be going cross country with a horse, hold a GPS map electronic device (probably your mobile telephone) around your neck with a long strap so you can regularly check whether the horse is going in your preferred direction (as opposed to his, which is probably in the direction of food and water).

  15. Riding a horse for a long time is both boring and painful. Bring a portable music device and earphones, but not ones that drain your telephone battery! The phone is your GPS directional system. You are knackered (bad pun) without it.

  16. Farms will have food and water for horses. They are unlikely to charge you (or only nominally) because feeding horses is relatively cheap. They are herbivores. They need a lot of fibre. Hence their obsession with hay.

  17. Peg the horse at night with a long enough tether that it can reach fresh water and hay or associated weeds that grow near fresh water - those are a perfectly good substitute for hay.

  18. Riding a horse for an extended time makes you hungry, because it is energetic work on your rump and leg muscles acting in time with the stride of the horse. Do not forget to feed and water yourself!

  19. If you do fall off a horse, throw yourself off and fall into a roll to avoid head injury. The horse will stop to allow you to remount it. The most serious injuries are human heads interacting with horses' hooves after a rider has fallen off. The second most serious injuries are human legs being crushed under a horse's body after the horse has been shot. Hence stay away from roads with potentially difficult checkpoints, who may look particularly oddly upon your approaching them on horseback.

  20. Horses are virtually immune to poisonous snakes and other similar such things, so they are very good for jungle.

  21. Direct current will kill a horse straight out. Either connect the horse to a car battery, or use one of these, or a police taser:

  22. You don't have to ride a horse back home. If you de-saddle them and untie them, they have extraordinary homing instincts.

  23. Anyone can ride a horse - even young children. Just get on with it and treat the horse an equal in your journey, and you will be just fine.

  24. Look after your horse. You don't need to go to bed with him, but don't let him end up like this!


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