Saturday, 6 September 2014

Comforts for War Horses

From The Observer, 6th September, 1914.

(A Society for the Encouragement of Kindness to Animals).
Where's glossy Bess, the carmen's mare?
Where's gentle Prince, the children's friend?
Where's Starlight, fast beyond compare?
And Tiny Tim of fiery blend?
Gone to fight their country's battles,
Gone to face the shot and shell,
Days of toil and nights of hunger,
Can we help, who loved them well?
Where’s soft-nosed Jessie, sugar lover?
Where's handsome Bobs, my lady's hack?
Where's Punch, the Squire rides to cover?
And Misses Trapper’s lively Jack?
Gone to fight their country's battles,
Gone to face the shot and shell
Weary waiting, hours of torture.
Can we help who love them well?
Where’s sturdy Joe, who hauls the coal?
Where’s ginger Nell, who brings the bread?
Where’s Tommy, petted from a foal?
And Norma of the fitful head?
Gone, all gone on Active Service,
Faithful Servants, friends of man.
We in sheltered homes of England,
Let us send the help we can.

Wither pads.       Brushing Boots.
Bandages.           Numnahs.
Embrocations.      Medicines.
Surgical sponges.

Or Money to purchase same.
Depot for receiving Comforts for Horses,
O.D.F.L. Offices, 58, Victoria-street, London, S.W.
ARTHUR J. COKE. Secretary.

[There was evidently concern at the time for the welfare of the horses requisitioned for the Army - it did not begin with Michael Morpurgo's 'War Horse'.

Patterns for wither pads occasionally appeared in needlecraft magazines during the war, perhaps in response to this or similar appeals.  

Weldon's Practical Needlework no. 348, published later in 1914, gives a pattern for a crocheted wither pad: "These pads are used under the saddle to protect the sensitive skin of the horse, and in war time, when all the saddles cannot be guaranteed to perfectly fit the horse, these pads become an absolute necessity to prevent suffering."   The pad is made of four ovals crocheted in wool: "Two pieces are worked separately for the outside cover, and two smaller pieces to place inside for centre lining or padding, as this article must be soft yet thick."   Finally, "At one end of pad, a piece of wool is crocheted to make a tie by which to attach the pad to the saddle, so that in case of a hasty call it will be handy."  A numnah is also a saddle pad.  It seems to be more saddle shaped, and often made of sheepskin.]    

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