Cavalry Days

"Why in the cavalry a man's steed was his best friend, a real companion." - Colonel Sherman T. Potter, "Old Soldiers", MASH, 1980.

She was a 15hh chestnut thoroughbred, sturdy as a brick house and there was no one Sherman Potter could count on more. In the cavalry you need to have a strong bond with your horse, they were the only way you could get away from the bullets. When there were bullets flying around you in every direction, you want to know that you have your best friend right there, to protect you, to aid you if you need to retreat. A good horse meant survival.

Sherman was lucky, he had one of the best horses a man could have. There was a guy in the same division as him, who had been a victim of having been given a bad horse. The horse was a temperamental Arab stallion, the horse was about six at the time, still quite green too. Six is a young age for a stallion like that. He stood about 16hh, and his rider, Mark Paterson was his name, was not the tallest guy in the world, which made it difficult for him.

One day him and the rest of the division were riding into battle, when a bullet grazed the side of his horses back leg, the horse reared up and thrust his head around, the bullet didn't penetrate the horse's leg, but the noise and the pain had spooked him. After a while Paterson did manage to rein him in, but he also managed to get shot in the leg himself. The enemy shooter had fired another round while Paterson was trying to control his horse, and the bullet got him in the leg. He managed to survive, but he did loose his leg, when he was hit he fell off the horse and fell into the dirt, this is the reason he lost his leg, it had been infected badly by the dirt.

That, Sherman thought as he looked up at the photo of that fine mare, Lady of Gold was her name, on the wall behind his desk, was why you needed to have a good horse. He was just glad he had not been the victim of bad horse trading, he was very lucky to have had the horse he had. She was probably the reason he made it through his cavalry days.

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