War Memoir of Robert Ellwood

Ellwood: For the Light Horse training included swimming 500-odd horses across the Nile below what place they called the barrage. Well, to do that you can imagine it would take some organisation and the way it was done I think would be very interesting you know because you ask any people or anybody even an bushman and all the rest of it how he would put 500 horses across a stream, he just would be nonplussed for a while but we took these 500 horses on an endless rope and that endless rope was made up of what they call small head ropes or line ropes they were. They were ropes about 3’6″ or more, 4′ and they had a peg at one end and they had a loop at the other end and that was how they were joined up and the horse, we then had on his headstall they had a ring underneath the chin and we had a head rope which for ceremonial purposes and for other purposes was hung around the horse’s neck and tied in a little know – you’ve seen those white things around a horse’s neck and that then was tied, the end of that was tied on to this inch rope and the endless rope of course was then started off with the first, second and third or fourth horses all joined up and one man leading the first horse and he’d go and he’d swim and the others were all connected up them one after the other, can you follow? They would be all connected up one after the other. We moved 500 horses across that way and only three or four men got wet and we only lost one horse and he was a horse that didn’t seem to have any idea how to swim, he simply lost his head and went up and down in the water, but we got the whole of the 500 horses across in that way and that was something that’s always stood out in my mind as being extraordinarily well-organised and well-founded.