Riding to Arms
A History of Horsemanship and Mounted Warfare
Published by: The University Press of Kentucky
Imprint: The University Press of Kentucky
Horses and horsemen played central roles in modern European warfare from the Renaissance to the Great War of 1914-1918, not only determining victory in battle, but also affecting the rise and fall of kingdoms and nations. When Shakespeare's Richard III cried, "A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!" he attested to the importance of the warhorse in history and embedded the image of the warhorse in the cultural memory of the West.
In Riding to Arms: A History of Horsemanship and Mounted Warfare, Charles Caramello examines the evolution of horsemanship—the training of horses and riders—and its relationship to the evolution of mounted warfare over four centuries. He explains how theories of horsemanship, navigating between art and utility, eventually settled on formal manège equitation merged with outdoor hunting equitation as the ideal combination for modern cavalry. He also addresses how the evolution of firepower and the advent of mechanized warfare eventually led to the end of horse cavalry.
Riding to Arms tracks the history of horsemanship and cavalry through scores of primary texts ranging from Federico Grisone's Rules of Riding (1550) to Lt.-Colonel E.G. French's Good-Bye to Boot and Saddle (1951). It offers not only a history of horsemen, horse soldiers, and horses, but also a survey of the seminal texts that shaped that history.
Ryding and Breakinge
Manège to Field
Light-Horse, Dragoons, and Others
Remounts and Wastage
Hunting in the Trenches
Riding to Arms carefully navigates the complex, sometimes complementary and sometimes contradictory relationship between high school equitation and practical military riding, highlighting and quoting from the works of all the great masters of horsemanship. Taking the reader through the development of the art of the manège style of riding and the technical aspects of military horsemanship, this short history should be on the library shelf of all serious students of riding technique and cavalry.~Louis A. DiMarco, LTC (Ret.) US Army, author of War Horse: A History of the Military Horse and Rider
This wide-ranging and well-written book offers new insights into the emergence of effective light cavalry in western armies from the eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries. Authored by a lover of horses and of riding, it draws on intellectual, practical, and cultural writings to highlight an increasing understanding of the horse as a living animal and as the key to the mounted warfare and mobility of that era.~Professor Stephen Badsey, author of Doctrine and Reform in the British Cavalry 1880-1918
Charles Caramello surveys five centuries of equestrian literature from the early works on manège riding (dressage) to those conditioning horse and soldier for modern cavalry warfare. This is a historiography of ideas about horsemanship where proponents of different schools often sparred with one another over training philosophies. Caramello traces the literature from the manège treatises of the 16th–18th century to the cavalry manuals of the long 19th century, culminating in the Great War.~Elizabeth Tobey, editor and co-translator of Federico Grisone's "The Rules of Riding": An Edited Translation of the First Renaissance Treatise on Classical Horsemanship
The complex relationships between horsemen and the horse, and their important role in European and American military life, cavalry warfare, and equitation, lie at the heart of this fascinating, useful, and up-to-date book. Caramello offers a thoroughly well-researched and clear overview, drawing on an impressive array of literary and visual sources to examine the wealth of complex ideas and theories surrounding dressage, equitation, and mounted warfare from the sixteenth century to the end of World War I.~Mike Huggins, emeritus professor of cultural history at the University of Cumbria
Throughout the long history of armed conflict, mobility was often the deciding factor in the outcome. Until relatively recently, this has meant armed men on horseback. For battlefield commanders to exercise control over their mounted forces, those horses and men required consistently applied doctrine. In Riding to Arms, Charles Caramello has produced an authoritative survey of the use of cavalry in warfare. His extensive research has identified salient points in history, from the Renaissance to World War I. This research is combined with the keen eye of a horseman, which gives the reader enhanced appreciation for cavalry in warfare. In addition, the book is written with a refreshing lack of academic jargon; this makes the book not only a valuable addition to the bookshelves of serious scholars, but an enjoyable read for the public.~Jim Wofford