Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of History

Content Description

1 online resource (ix, 357 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Richard F. Hamm

Committee Members

Amy MurrellTaylor, Gerald Zahavi


breeding, cavalry, horse, racing, remount, thoroughbred, Thoroughbred horse, Horse industry, Cavalry horses

Subject Categories

United States History


From Biblical times through the mid-twentieth century, humans relied on horses as a critical vehicle of war. But horses, unlike modern machines, could not simply be manufactured to the necessary specifications, in the necessary numbers, at the necessary times. In addition, cavalry warfare was the most physically demanding of all tasks to which humans have put horses, and required horses of exceptional endurance and athletic ability. Creating a pool of such horses to be drawn from in times of military need took careful breeding and planning. But the United States, with its fear of a standing military, and its decentralized government structure, did not have the political will or ability to create a military horse breeding program, while most European powers did. Instead, for its horse supply, the United States relied on the one group of horsemen in the nation who had systematized programs to breed uniformly superb horses with the ability to pass their best qualities on to their offspring, even when crossed with horses of different breeding. These were the thoroughbred racing men who performance tested their bloodstock and bred for generations for uniform, measurable qualities, and whose animals the common American horse owner sought out to improve his own workaday stock.