Aug 9, 2019
Jo Ellen Hayden is the author of the Horse Heroes website, produced in collaboration with Brooke USA and the World War I Centennial Commission, and she is Elise’s guest on this episode of Because of Horses.
Horse Heroes was created to shine light on the critical role
equines played throughout the world during the years of The Great
War and to honor their legacy through raising awareness of the
needs of the nearly 100 million working equines in the developing
With 250 images and video clips, Horse Heroes is the largest single collection of photographs of American animals in World War I and is one of the most comprehensive historical accounts of equines in The Great War ever compiled.
Jo Ellen (B.A., M.A., History) researched and wrote the site, which includes historical information on the purchase, training, shipping, veterinary care and battlefield conditions for the over one million American horses, mules and donkeys who served Allied forces in Europe.
She carefully documented the extensive use of equines, both in harness and under saddle, serving roles ranging from carrying cavalrymen into battle to helping wounded soldiers to safety. Jo Ellen shares that equines often hauled nearly impossible loads in difficult terrain.
Equines suffered greatly during the war, with only 200 returning
to the United States. The U.S. Army Veterinary Corps, formed only a
year before the war began, struggled to provide care under often
The plight of equines during and after World War I was what inspired Englishwoman Dorothy Brooke to take action to improve their conditions. She founded Brooke in the 1930s. Brooke USA was founded in 2007 as a sister organization to Brooke, now the world’s largest equine welfare charity. Brooke USA funds programs to improve the living and working conditions of equines and the families that rely on them through culturally sensitive and practical approaches geared towards long-lasting solutions.
Horse Heroes provides a resource for historians, educators and equine enthusiasts to better understand the tremendous impact of the horse during World War I.
The plight of equines during and after World War I was what inspired Englishwoman Dorothy Brooke to take action to improve their conditions. She founded Brooke in the 1930s. Brooke USA was founded in 2007 as a sister organization to Brooke, now the world’s largest equine welfare charity. Brooke USA funds programs to improve the living and working conditions of equines and the families that rely on them through culturally sensitive and practical approaches geared toward long-lasting solutions.
Topics of Discussion:
[:25] About today’s episode with special guest, Jo Ellen Hayden.
[1:29] Jo Ellen speaks about why it is so important to never forget the service the horses and mules of WWI.
[3:00] Jo Ellen paints a picture of what life was like for the horses and mules during the war.
[10:51] Jo Ellen speaks about why it’s important not to romanticize war, sharing what animals’ lives were really like when horses were used for warfare.
[15:04] Jo Ellen reads a powerful quote from Sir Edward Elgar about horses in the war.
[16:16] Jo Ellen speaks about what she has learned about the soldiers’ view and affection for the horses that served beside them.
[21:32] The legendary Dorothy Brooke, The Brooke’s founder, and the critical work the organization fulfills today.
[32:36] Elise and Jo Ellen speak about what happened to horses after the war ended.
[49:05] The origin of the American WWI horses.
[54:15] What factors did the military consider when selecting horses for different jobs?
[57:18] Elise gives a preview of next week’s episode of Because of Horses!
[58:19] Jo Ellen speaks about all that we owe to horses during WWI and other key takeaways from today’s conversation.
[1:01:37] Where to learn more online and why you should consider supporting Brooke USA to impact working equines all around the world.
[1:06:35] Elise thanks Jo Ellen for joining her this episode.
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Mentioned in this Episode:
EquestFile (Use coupon code: BOH10 to receive a 10% discount for two months off your subscription)
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