Winter 1894 (Age 19)

Calvary and Horses: It was intended that Winston would join the 60th Rifles Infantry Regiment upon graduation from Sandhurst but his fervent desire to join the cavalry was expressed in a letter to his mother: ‘Promotions much quicker in Cavalry; Obtain your commission in Cav much sooner, 4th Hussars are going to India shortly. Cavalry regiments are always given good stations in India and generally taken care of by the Government; If you want to keep a horse you can do it much cheaper in the Cavalry. Sentimental advantages: uniform, increased interest of “life among horses”, advantages of riding over walk, advantages of joining a regiment some of whose officers you know. i.e. 4 Hussars.’

The love of horses remained with him throughout his life. In My Early Life he wrote: ‘And here I say to parents, especially to wealthy parents, “Don’t give your son money, give him horses.” No one ever came to grief – except honourable grief – through riding horses. No hour of life is lost that is spent in the saddle. Young men have often been ruined through owning horses, or through backing horses, but never through riding them; unless of course they break their necks, which, taken at a gallop, is a very good death to die.’

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