The forgotten story of New Zealand’s war horses is told in a major new exhibition titled “Harnessed: New Zealand’s War Horses” which opens on 7th December 2012.
Over 20,000 New Zealand horses left the peaceful green pastures of home to be shipped across the world to foreign soils for two wars. Some did not survive the long sea journey while the rest took the troops into battle.
They survived on meagre rations and endured the heat and flies on the veldt or in the desert, through to the snow and mud on the Western Front. Some succumbed to disease and others to their battle wounds. When the guns were silenced only five would return home.
“Harnessed: New Zealand’s War Horses” tells their story.
Museum Curator, Windsor Jones said “For many of us the story of the horse in war is often overlooked, in fact in World War I, a staggering 8 million horses were killed, from all countries. This exhibition tells of our own war horses and how they took troops into battle in the Anglo-Boer War and World War One, of how they were looked after and loved by the men, and at war’s end, sadly, how they were left behind”
The exhibition includes uniforms, weaponry, saddles and equipment of each era as well as dioramas depicting a Western Front scene together with a farrier at work in a stable workshop.