Saturday The weather is just glorious for the first time since being in action, was up at reveille am at the wagon lines cliped [sic] horses this a.m. bummed this afternoon face is improving
Clipping the horses and mules had been the common practice earlier in the war – the argument of the veterinarians being that it was too difficult to spot cases of mange or other skin diseases under a heavy winter coat. (1) When horses are picketed outdoors, depriving the animals of their protection is a “folly and a cruelty, since it must deprive them of the warmth provided by Nature.” (1) By this point, the fourth winter of the war, there was a compromise: horses were clipped in October and November before the cold weather really set in. (2) Cases of mange would be quickly identified and isolated, and the coat could regrow before the worst weather.
The illustration shows a partial clipping, another compromise, which will become standard practice. (3) It is one of a number of drawings of horses by Edwin Noble, part of a design for a 1919 calendar © IWM ART 4945.
(1) Galtrey, Sidney. The Horse and the War. Illustrated by Lionel Edwards. London and Chicago: 1918. 88
(2) Galtrey, 95
(3) Rees, Simon. “The Forgotten Army,” firstworldwar.com A Multimedia History of World War One. 2009.
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