Horses are handy props for living history, because they were beasts of burden for everyday life. One or two of them are especially handy to have around, when one is a Civil War history buff like my husband. For a couple of years, he participated in a reenacting group that donned gray uniforms for the Confederate side, then on another weekend don the Federal cavalry’s blue. The equipment would stay the same, just the colors would change. Let’s face it… one thing everyone has in common throughout history is the cost of amassing gear. I have to admit it’s fascinating to see the weapons, tools, food, and clothing that were necessary for survival. What is even more fascinating to watch is a horse, like Myles in the photo above, executing the drills that were required every day by the regiments. Myles, you see, had his schedule of things, barn time, grazing time, carrot time, and snooze time. His lifestyle isn’t one of a workhorse, and he didn’t realize he was play acting. But, Myles did take it in stride; it’s probably tougher on the reenacting soldier. The years following the war the western cowboy became really popular, and there are groups that reenact them. Fortunately, one can use the same weaponry, for the most part, and even the horse tack can remain the same.
“A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint. What I began by reading, I must finish it by acting.” Henry David Thoreau