Website designed by Basha O'Reilly
Lieutenant-Colonel Louis DiMarco, LTC, USA (Retired),
teaches military history at the US Army’s Staff College and is an expert on the history of the horse in war. Author of War Horse: A History of the Miltiary Horse and Rider.
1 - What is the single greatest change you have witnessed in the equestrian world during your life time?
The increasing disconnect between the general population and all equestrian activity.
2 - Do you ride?
Yes. Western and English style. I’ve done a little bit of everything: Trail riding, eventing, dressage, and fox hunting.
3 - Do you own a horse?
My wife and I currently own seven horses: two thoroughbreds, one warm blood, two quarter horses, one appaloosa, and one haflinger.
4 - Who is your favorite horse in history?
Jenny Camp – U.S. cavalry remount, ¾ TB, eventing horse, participated in the 1932 and 1936 Olympics. Winner of two individual eventing silver medals (32 and 36) and one team gold (32).
5 - Who do you think was the most influential equestrian human in history and why?
Fedrico Caprilli for scientifically demonstrating the superiority of the forward seat for cross-country and general riding. Caprilli captured scientifically what eastern horsemen had known for centuries.
6 - What was your greatest equestrian influence from books or cinema when you were young?
The John Ford and John Wayne trilogy of western movies about the U.S. cavalry.
7 - What equestrian book would you recommend today and why?
The U.S. Cavalry Horse by William H. Carter. It is a truly informed and readable treasure of military horse knowledge written by one of the most intellectually talented U.S. cavalrymen of the late 19th and early 20th Century. Carter was a young cavalry officer on the western frontier and later one of the founders of the U.S. army general staff.
8 - How did you initially become interested in your specific equestrian specialty?
I was an armored cavalry officer in the U.S. army for twenty-four years, a horse owner for more than twenty years, and interested in military history all my life. All three interests meet in the history of the military horse.
9 - What prompted you to enter that field?
It’s a combination of my former profession (armored cavalry officer), my hobby and interest (horses), and my current profession (professor of military history).
10 - Did someone encourage your decision or inspire you?
My wife is an avid horsewoman, Master of Fox Hounds, and also a former brigade commander and retired army colonel.
11 - When did you begin your research, investigation, work?
I began researching military horses in 1994 when I was doing research in the Journals of the U.S. Cavalry Association from the 1920s and 1930s.
12 - What do you think is your most important discovery, achievement or insight regarding your equestrian work?
Most military history is written without any understanding on the part of the historian of riding, horse breeds, horse psychology, or horse management. Thus, a true understanding of cavalry operations is rare in most histories.
13 - What modern technology, techniques and media have you found most helpful?
Online research has been very helpful. Also very useful is online networking with other experts in the field. Digital photography has also been helpful developing a research files.
14 - What part of your work do you find most fulfilling?
Writing and sharing my insights and discovers with others who have an interest in horses.
15 - What’s been your biggest disappointment in your work?
The lack of interest in the general public, and in the military history reading public, in the art and science of riding and horse management.
16 - How do you explain the gulf between academic equestrian investigation and the average horse owner?
The temperament for academic work is very different than the personality that is often attracted to horse ownership and riding. Therefore, many horse owners do not make the time and effort to read the information that the academic has discovered.
17 - What equestrian subjects are in need of more research and investigation?
- A detailed analysis of the impact of poor horse management on historic military campaigns.
- The impact of different types of breeds on military operations.
- A general history of equine veterinary science.
- The role of horses and cavalry forces in World War I –particularly in the opening months of the war on the western front.
18 - Which part of the equestrian world would you like to see reformed and why?
19 - How do you traditionally deliver your findings or message and how would you ideally like to do so?
I have written books and articles that have been published. I also like posting smaller works to blogs and webpages.
20 - What intellectual, technical or ethical advances would you like to see in the horse world?
21 - Do you foresee any difficulties for the horse world in the immediate future?
22 - What is the greatest challenge facing the horse world in the long term?
Increasing expense of horse ownership and decreasing availability of open land (particularly in eastern U.S. and western Europe).
23 - What books, magazines, websites, etc. can people read and review to learn more about your work?
War Horse: The History of the Military Horse and Rider (Westholme Publishing, 2008)
Features on the Society of the Military Horse Website: www.militaryhorse.org/
Articles on my personal website: www.louisdimarco.com
My personal blogsite: A Horse Soldier’s Thoughts, horsesoldier.wordpress.com/
24 - Any final thoughts?
© COPYRIGHT 2001 - 2014