History of Military Use of Horses and Mules

General George Washington who was the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, established the first “official” mounted regiment in 1776.  

The mounted Army deeply aided the westward movement and settlement of the west during the 1880’s.  The horse and the Army were synonymous.  Forts were built across the west as the frontier was settled.  

The Army or Cavalry was totally dependent on the horse until the 1930’s.   

Troops of the 9th Cavalry were stationed at the Regiment’s new home in rebuilt Camp Funston, Ft. Riley, KS, in May 1941.  

In the early 1930’s the Cavalry field manuals were rewritten. The last version that focused on horses was published in 1936. After that, the nature of the Cavalry changed, and the manuals depicted tactics for halftracks and armored cars.  

Beginning in 1942, the Army began the full decommission of horses and mules.  

The last mounted cavalry units were the 127th and 129th Cavalry Squadrons, activated late in WW II and inactivated by 1947.  

The last active cavalry post was Ft Riley, KS, where the Cavalry School was inactivated on 31 October 1946. By 1947, all Army equine training and educational programs for mounted troops had ended.  

A few small detachments remained for special events like parades and ceremonies.  

In today’s world environment, it has been discovered by Military Special Operations units (Army, Navy and Marines), that there remains a need for training in the use and packing of horses and mules.  We have been honored to aid in that training over the last few years.  Our goal is to continue to offer this specialized training.  

Bob Marshall Wilderness Outfitters - Missoula, Montana