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The Artillery Horse’s Prayer

Written by Captain De Condenbove, French Army, during the World War.
Borrowed with permission from the Web page of the 3rd US Artillery, Battery L/M.

"To thee, my master, I offer my prayer"

"Treat me as a living being, not as a machine. Feed me, water and care for me, and when the day’s work is done, groom me carefully so that my circulation may act well, for remember: a good grooming is equivalent to half a feed. Clean my feet and legs and keep them in good condition, for they are the most important parts of my body."

"Pet me sometimes, be always gentle to me so that I may serve you the more gladly and learn to love you."

"Do not jerk the reins, do not whip me when I am going up-hill. Do not  force me out of the regular gait or you will not have my strength when you want it. Never strike, beat or kick me when I do not understand what you mean, but give me a chance to understand you. Watch me, and if I fail to do you’re bidding, see if something is not wrong with my harness or feet."

"Don’t draw the straps too tight: give me freedom to move my head. Don’t make my load too heavy, and oh! I pray thee, have me shod every month."

"Examine my teeth when I do not eat; I may have some teeth too long or I may have an ulcerated tooth and that, you know, is very painful. Do not tie my head in an unnatural position or take away my defense against flies and mosquitoes by cutting off my tail."

"I cannot, alas, tell you when I am thirsty, so give me pure, cold water frequently. Do all you can do to protect me from the sun; and throw a cover over me-not when I am working, but when I am standing in the cold."

"I always try and do cheerfully the work you require of me: and day and night I stand for hours patiently waiting for you."

"In this war, like any other soldier, I will do my best without hope of any war-cross, content to serve my country and you, and, if need be, I will die calm and dignified on the battlefield; therefore, oh! my master, treat me in the kindest way and your God will reward you here and hereafter."

"I am not irreverent if I ask this, my prayer, in the name of Him who was born in a stable."


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