From the earliest of times, cavalry had the advantage of improved mobility, making it an
“instrument which multiplied the fighting value of even the smallest forces, allowing them to outflank and avoid, to surprise and overpower, to retreat and escape according to the requirements of the moment.”
A man fighting from horseback also had the advantages of greater height, speed, and inertial mass over an opponent on foot. Another element of horse mounted warfare is the psychological impact a mounted soldier can inflict on an opponent.
The mobility and shock value of the cavalry was greatly appreciated and exploited in the Ancient and Middle Ages armed forces, and some consisted mostly of the cavalry troops, particularly in nomadic societies of Asia, notably the Mongol armies. In Europe cavalry became increasingly armored cavalry and eventually became known for the mounted knights. During the 17th century cavalry in Europe lost most of its armor, and by the mid-19th century only some regiments retained the cuirass, or body armor.
Before the Iron Age, the role of cavalry on the battlefield was largely performed by light chariots. The chariot originated with the Sintashta-Petrovka culture in Central Asia and spread by nomadic or semi-nomadic Indo-Iranians. The chariot was quickly adopted by settled peoples both as a military technology and an object of ceremonial status, especially by the Pharaohs of the New Kingdom of Egypt as well as Assyrian and Babylonian royalty.
The power of mobility given by mounted units was recognized early on, but was offset by the difficulty of raising large forces and by the inability of horses (then mostly small) to carry heavy armor. Cavalry techniques were an innovation of equestrian nomads of the Central Asian and Iranian steppe and pastoralist tribes such as the Persian Parthians and Sarmatians.
The photograph above right shows Assyrian cavalry from reliefs of 865–860 BC. At this time, the men had no spurs, saddles, saddle cloths, or stirrups. Fighting from the back of a horse was much more difficult than mere riding. The cavalry acted in pairs; the reins of the mounted archer were controlled by his neighbor’s hand. Even at this early time, cavalry used swords, shields, and bows. The sculpture implies two types of cavalry, but this might be a simplification by the artist. Later images of Assyrian cavalry show saddle cloths as primitive saddles, allowing each archer to control his own horse.
As early as 490 BC a breed of large horses was bred in the Nisaean plain in Media to carry men with increasing amounts of armor (Herodotus 7,40 & 9,20). But large horses were still very exceptional at this time. Excepting a few ineffective trials of scythed chariots, the use of chariots in battle was obsolete in civilized nations by the time of the Persian defeat at the hands of Alexander the Great, but chariots remained in use for ceremonial purposes such as carrying the victorious general in a Roman triumph, for chariot racing. The southern British met Julius Caesar with chariots in 55 and 54 BC, but a century later, in the Roman conquest of Britain chariots were obsolete even in Britannia.
Ancient Greece: City-States, Thebes, Thessaly and Macedonia
Cavalry played a relatively minor role in ancient Greek city-states, with conflicts decided by massed armored infantry. However, Thebes produced Pelopidas, her first great cavalry commander, whose tactics and skills were absorbed by Phillip II of Macedon when Phillip was a guest-hostage in Thebes. Thessaly was widely known for producing competent cavalrymen, and later experiences in wars both with and against the Persians taught the Greeks the value of cavalry in skirmishing and pursuit. The Athenian author and soldier Xenophon in particular advocated the creation of a small but well-trained cavalry force; to that end, he wrote several manuals on horsemanship and cavalry operations.
The Macedonian kingdom in the north, on the other hand, developed a strong cavalry force that culminated in the hetairoi (Companion cavalry) of Philip II and Alexander the Great. In addition to these heavy cavalry, the Macedonian combined arms army also employed lighter horsemen called prodromoi for scouting and screening, as well as the Macedonian pike phalanx and various kinds of light infantry. There were also the Ippiko (or “Horserider”), Greek “heavy” cavalry, armed with kontos (or cavalry lance), and sword. They wore leather armor or mail and hat. They were medium cavalry, rather than heavy cavalry. They were good scouts, skirmishers, and chasers.
The effectiveness of this combined-arms system was most dramatically demonstrated in Alexander’s conquest of Persia, Bactria, and northwestern India.
Roman Republic and Early Empire
The cavalry in the early Roman Republic remained the preserve of the wealthy landed class known as the equites—men who could afford the expense of maintaining a horse in addition to arms and armor heavier than those of the common legions. As the class grew to be more of a social elite instead of a functional property-based military grouping, the Romans began to employ Italian socii for filling the ranks of their cavalry. At about the same time the Romans began to recruit foreign auxiliary cavalry from among Gauls, Iberians, and Numidians, the last being highly valued as mounted skirmishers and scouts (see Numidian cavalry). Julius Caesar himself was known for his admiration of his escort of Germanic mixed cavalry, giving rise to the Cohortae Equitates. Early emperors maintained an ala of Batavian cavalry as their bodyguards until the unit was dismissed by Galba after the Batavian Rebellion.
For the most part, Roman cavalry during the Republic functioned as an adjunct to the legionary infantry and formed only one-fifth of the showing force. This does not mean that its utility could be underestimated, though, as its strategic role in scouting, skirmishing, and outpost duties was crucial to the Romans’ capability to conduct operations over long distances in hostile or unfamiliar territory. In some occasions it also proved its ability to strike a decisive tactical blow against a weakened or unprepared enemy, such as the final charge at the Battle of Aquilonia.
After defeats such as the Battle of Carrhae, the Romans learned the importance of large cavalry formations from the Parthians. They would begin to substantially increase both the numbers and the training standards of the cavalry in their employ, just as nearly a thousand years earlier the first Iranians to reach the Iranian Plateau forced the Assyrians to a similar reform. Nonetheless, they would continue to rely mainly on their heavy infantry supported by auxiliary cavalry.
Late Roman Empire and the Migration Period
In the army of the late Roman Empire, cavalry played an increasingly important role. The Spatha, the classical sword throughout most of the 1st millennium was adopted as the standard model for the Empire’s cavalry forces.
The most widespread employment of heavy cavalry at this time was found in the forces of the Parthians and their Iranian Sassanid successors. Both, but especially the latter, were famed for the cataphract (fully armored cavalry armed with lances) even though the majority of their forces consisted of lighter horse archers. The West first encountered this eastern heavy cavalry during the Hellenistic period with further intensive contacts during the eight centuries of the Roman–Persian wars. At first the Parthians’ mobility greatly confounded the Romans, whose armored close-order infantry proved unable to match the speed of the Parthians. However, later the Romans would successfully adapt such heavy armor and cavalry tactics by creating their own units of cataphracts and clibanarii.
The decline of the Roman infrastructure made it more difficult to field large infantry forces, and during the fourth and fifth centuries cavalry began to take a more dominant role on the European battlefield, also in part made possible by the appearance of new, larger breeds of horses. The replacement of the Roman saddle by variants on the Scythian model, with pommel and cantle, was also a significant factor as was the adoption of stirrups and the concomitant increase in stability of the rider’s seat. Armored Cataphracts began to be deployed in eastern Europe and the near East, following the precedents established by Persian forces, as the main striking force of the armies in contrast to the earlier roles of cavalry as scouts, raiders, and outflankers.
The late Roman cavalry tradition and the mounted nobility of the Germanic invaders both contributed to the development of mediaeval knightly cavalry.
Early organized Arab cavalry under the Rashidun caliphate was a light cavalry armed with lance and sword, its main role was to attack the enemy flanks and rear. Armor was relatively light. The Muslims’ light cavalry during the later years of Islamic conquest of Levant became the most powerful section of army. The best use of this lightly armed fast moving cavalry was revealed at the Battle of Yarmouk (636 A.D.) in which Khalid ibn Walid, knowing the importance and ability of his cavalry, used them to turn the tables at every critical instance of the battle with their ability to engage and disengage and turn back and attack again from the flank or rear. A strong cavalry regiment was formed by Khalid ibn Walid which included the veterans of the campaign of Iraq and Syria. Early Muslim historians have given it the name Mutaharrik tulai’a, or the Mobile guard. This was used as an advance guard and a strong striking force to route the opposing armies with its greater mobility that give it an upper hand when maneuvering against any Byzantine army. With this mobile striking force, the conquest of Syria was made easy.
The Battle of Talas in 751 CE was a conflict between the Arab Abbasid Caliphate and the Chinese Tang Dynasty over the control of Central Asia. Chinese infantry were routed by Arab cavalry near the bank of the River Talas.
Later Mamluks were trained as cavalry soldiers. Mamluks were to follow the dictates of al-furusiyya, a code of conduct that included values like courage and generosity but also doctrine of cavalry tactics, horsemanship, archery and treatment of wounds.
The Indian literature contains numerous references to the cavalry forces of the Central Asian horse nomads like the Sakas, Kambojas, Yavanas, Pahlavas and Paradas. Numerous Puranic texts refer to a conflict in ancient India (16th c. BC) in which the cavalry forces of five nations, called five hordes (pañca.ganan) or Kśatriya hordes (Kśatriya ganah), attacked and captured the throne of Ayudhya by dethroning its VedicKing Bahu.
The Mahabharata, Ramayana, numerous Puranas and some foreign sources numerously attest that Kamboja cavalry was frequently requisitioned in ancient wars. V. R. Ramachandra Dikshitar writes: “Both the Puranas and the epics agree that the horses of the Sindhu and Kamboja regions were of the finest breed, and that the services of the Kambojas as cavalry troopers were requisitioned in ancient wars “. J.A.O.S. writes: “Most famous horses are said to come either from Sindhu or Kamboja; of the latter (i.e the Kamboja), the Indian epic Mahabharata speaks among the finest horsemen.”
Mahabharata (950 c BC) speaks of the esteemed cavalry of the Kambojas, Sakas, Yavanas and Tusharas, all of whom had participated in the Kurukshetra war under the supreme command of Kamboja ruler Sudakshin Kamboj. Mahabharata and Vishnudharmotari Purana especially styles the Kambojas, Yavansa, Gandharas etc as “Ashva.yuddha.kushalah” (expert cavalrymen). In the Mahabharata war, the Kamboja cavalry along with that of the Sakas, Yavanas is reported to have been enlisted by the Kuru king Duryodhana of Hastinapura.
Herodotus (484 c BC–425 c BC) attests that the Gandarian mercenaries (i.e. Gandharans/Kambojans of Gandari Strapy of Achaemenids) from the twentieth strapy of the Achaemenids were recruited in the army of emperor Xerxes I (486-465 BC), which he led against the Hellas. Similarly, the men of the Mountain Land from north of Kabol-River equivalent to medieval Kohistan (Pakistan), figure in the army of Darius III against Alexander at Arbela with a cavalry and fifteen elephants. This obviously refers to Kamboja cavalry south of Hindukush.
The Kambojas were famous for their horses, as well as cavalry-men (asva-yuddha-Kushalah). On account of their supreme position in horse (Ashva) culture, they were also popularly known as Ashvakas, i.e. the “horsemen” and their land was known as “Home of Horses”. They are the Assakenoi and Aspasioi of the Classical writings, and the Ashvakayanas and Ashvayanas in Pāṇini’s Ashtadhyayi. The Assakenoi had faced Alexander with 30,000 infantry, 20,000 cavalry and 30 war elephants. Scholars have identified the Assakenoi and Aspasioi clans of Kunar and Swat valleys as a section of the Kambojas. These hardy tribes had offered stubborn resistance to Alexander (326 c BC) during latter’s campaign of the Kabul, Kunar and Swat valleys and had even extracted the praise of the Alexander’s historians. These highlanders, designated as “parvatiya Ayudhajivinah” in Pāṇini’s Astadhyayi, were rebellious, fiercely independent and freedom-loving cavalrymen who never easily yielded to any overlord.
The Sanskrit drama Mudra-rakashas by Visakha Dutta and the Jaina work Parisishtaparvan refer to Chandragupta’s (320 C BC–298 c BC) alliance with Himalayan king Parvataka. The Himalayan alliance gave Chandragupta a formidable composite army made up of the many tribal cavalry forces. These hordes had helped Chandragupta Maurya defeat the ruler of Magadha and placed Vhandragupta on the throne, thus laying the foundations of Mauryan Dynasty in Northern India.
As late as mediaeval era, the Kamboja cavalry had also formed part of the Gurjara-Pratihara armed forces in 8th/10th centuries AD. They had come to Bengal with the Pratiharas when the latter conquered part of the province.
Ancient Kambojas were constituted into military Sanghas and Srenis (Corporations) to manage their political and military affairs, as Arthashastra of Kautiliya as well as the Mahabharata amply attest for us. They are attested to be living as Ayuddha-jivi or Shastr-opajivis (Nation-in-arms), which also means that the Kamboja cavalry offered its military services to other nations as well. There are numerous references to Kambojas having been requisitioned as cavalry troopers in ancient wars by outside nations.
Xiongnu or Hun, Tujue, Avars, Kipchaks, Mongols, Cossacks and the various Turkic peoples are also examples of the horse-mounted peoples that managed to gain substantial successes in military conflicts with settled agrarian and urban societies, due to their strategic and tactical mobility. As European states began to assume the character of bureaucratic nation-states supporting professional standing armies, recruitment of these mounted warriors was undertaken in order to fill the strategic roles of scouts and raiders. The best known instance of the continued employment of mounted tribal auxiliaries were the Cossack cavalry regiments of Tsarist Russia. In eastern Europe, Russia, and out onto the steppes, cavalry remained important much longer and dominated the scene of warfare until the early 1600s and even beyond, as the strategic mobility of cavalry was crucial for the semi-nomadic pastoralist lives that many steppe cultures led.
Tibetans also had a tradition of cavalry warfare, in several military engagements early on with the Chinese Tang Dynasty (618–907 AD), including Emperor Taizong’s campaign against Tufan in 638.
Further east, the military history of China, specifically northern China, held a long tradition of intense military exchange between Han Chinese infantry forces of the settled dynastic empires and the mounted nomads or “barbarians” of the north. The naval history of China was centered more to the south, where mountains, rivers, and large lakes necessitated the employment of a large and well-kept navy.
In 307 BC, King Wuling of Zhao, the ancient Chinese ruler of the former State of Jin territory, ordered his military commanders and troops to adopt the trousers of the nomads as well as practice the nomads’ form of mounted archery to hone their new cavalry skills. Soon afterwards the cavalry tactics employed by the State of Zhao forced their enemies in the other Warring States to adopt the same techniques in order to mount any effective attack against their swift movements on the battlefield.
The adoption of massed cavalry in China also broke the tradition of the chariot-riding Chinese aristocracy in battle, which had been in use since the ancient Shang Dynasty (c. 1600 BC-1050 BC). By this time large Chinese infantry-based armies of 100,000 to 200,000 troops were now buttressed with several hundred thousand mounted cavalry in support or as an effective striking force. The handheld pistol-and-trigger crossbow was invented in China in the 4th century BC; it was written by the Song Dynasty scholars Zeng Gongliang, Ding Du, and Yang Weide in their book Wujing Zongyao (1044 AD) that massed missile fire of crossbowmen was the most effective defense against enemy cavalry charges.
On many occasions the Chinese studied nomadic cavalry tactics and applied the lessons in creating their own potent cavalry forces, while in others they simply recruited the tribal horsemen wholesale into their armies; and in yet other cases nomadic empires have proved eager to enlist Chinese infantry and engineering, as in the case of the Mongol Empire and its sinicized part, the Yuan Dynasty (1279–1368). The Chinese recognized early on during the Han Dynasty (202 BC-220 AD) that they were at a disadvantage if lacking the amount of horses the northern nomadic peoples mustered in their armies. Emperor Wu of Han (r. 141 BC-87 BC) went to war with the Dayuan for this exact reason, since the Dayuan were hording a massive amount of tall, strong, Central Asian bred horses in the Hellenized–Greek region of Fergana (established a bit earlier by Alexander the Great). Although experiencing some defeats early on in the campaign, Emperor Wu’s war from 104 BC to 102 BC succeeded in gathering the prized tribute of horses from Fergana.
Cavalry tactics in China were enhanced by the invention of the saddle-attached stirrup by at least the 4th century, as the oldest reliable depiction of a rider with paired stirrups was found in a Jin Dynasty tomb of the year 322 AD. The Chinese invention of the horse collar by the 5th century was also a great improvement from the breast harness, allowing the horse to haul greater weight without heavy burden on its skeletal structure.
The cavalry of Korea was first introduced during the ancient Korean kingdom Gojoseon. Since at least the 3rd century BC, there was influence of northern nomadic peoples and Yemaek peoples on Korean Warfare. By roughly the 1st century BC, the ancient kingdom of Buyeo also had mounted warriors. With contacts, military intercession, and sailed ventures to Korea, cavalry of Goguryeo were called Gaemamusa and were similar to tanks in the age of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. King Gwanggaeto the Great often led expeditions into Baekje, Gaya confederacy, Buyeo and against Japanese invaders with his cavalry.
The ancient Japanese of the Kofun period also adopted cavalry and equine culture by the 5th century AD.
In the Indian subcontinent, cavalry played a major role from the Gupta Dynasty (320-600) period onwards. India has also the oldest evidence for the introduction of toe-stirrups.
European Middle Ages
Although Roman cavalry had no stirrups, their horned saddle allowed the combination of a firm seat with substantial flexibility. But the introduction of the wraparound saddle during the Middle Ages provided greater efficiency in mounted shock combat and the invention of stirrup enabled a broader array of attacks to be delivered from the back of a horse. As a greater weight of man and armor could be supported in the saddle, the probability of being dismounted in combat was significantly reduced.
In particular, a charge with the lance couched under the armpit would no longer turn into pole vaulting; this eventually led to an enormous increase in the impact of the charge. Last but not least, the introduction of spurs allowed better control of the mount during the “knightly charge” in full gallop. In western Europe there emerged what is considered the “ultimate” heavy cavalry, the knight. The knights and other similarly equipped mounted men-at-arms charged in close formation, exchanging flexibility for a massive, irresistible first charge.
The mounted men-at-arms quickly became an important force in Western European tactics, although it is worth noting that Medieval military doctrine actually employed them as part of a combined-arms force along with various kinds of foot troops. Still, Medieval chroniclers tended to pay undue attention to the knights at the expense of the rank and file, and this has led early students of military history to suppose that this heavy cavalry was the only force that mattered on Medieval European battlefields—a view with hardly any grounding in reality.
Massed English longbowmen triumphed over French cavalry at Crécy, Poitiers and Agincourt, while at Gisors (1188), Bannockburn (1314), and Laupen (1339), foot-soldiers proved their invulnerability to cavalry charges as long as they held their formation. However, the rise of infantry as the principal arm had to wait for the Swiss to develop their pike squares into an offensive arm instead of a defensive one; this new aggressive doctrine brought the Swiss to victory over a range of adversaries, and their enemies found that the only reliable way to defeat them was by the use of an even more comprehensive combined arms doctrine as evidenced in the Battle of Marignano. The introduction of missile weapons that were simpler to use, such as the crossbow and the hand cannons, also helped remove the focus somewhat from cavalry elites to masses of cheap infantry equipped with easy-to-learn weapons. These missile weapons were very successfully used in the Hussite Wars, in combination with Wagenburg tactics.
This gradual rise in the dominance of infantry led to the adoption of dismounted tactics. From the earliest times knights and mounted men-at-arms had frequently dismounted to handle enemies they could not overcome on horseback, such as in the Battle of the Dyle (891) and the Battle of Bremule (1119), but after 1350s this trend became more marked with the dismounted men-at-arms fighting as super-heavy infantry with two-handed swords and poleaxes. In any case, warfare in the Middle Ages tended to be dominated by raids and sieges rather than pitched battles, and mounted men-at-arms rarely had any choice other than dismounting when faced with the prospect of assaulting a fortified position.
Ironically, the rise of infantry in the early 16th century coincided with the “golden age” of heavy cavalry; a French or Spanish army at the beginning of the century could have up to 50 percent of its numbers filled with various kinds of light and heavy cavalry, whereas in medieval and 17th century armies the proportion of cavalry seldom rose beyond twenty-five percent. Knighthood largely lost its military functions and became more closely tied to social and economic prestige in an increasingly capitalistic Western society. With the rise of drilled and trained infantry, the mounted men-at-arms, now sometimes called gendarmes and often part of the standing army themselves, adopted the same role as in the Hellenistic age – that of delivering a decisive blow once the battle was already engaged by either charging the enemy in the flank or attacking their commander-in-chief.
From the 1550s onwards, the use of gunpowder weapons solidified infantry’s dominance of the battlefield and began to allow true mass armies to develop. This is closely related to the increase in the size of armies throughout the early modern period; heavily armored cavalrymen were expensive to raise and maintain and it took years to replace a skilled horseman or a trained horse, while arquebusiers and later musketeers could be trained and kept in the field at a much lower expense in addition to being much easier to replace. The Spanish tercio and later formations relegated cavalry to a supporting role. The pistol was specifically developed to try and bring cavalry back into the conflict, together with manoeuvres such as the caracole. The caracole was not particularly successful, however, and the charge (whether with sword, pistol, or lance) remained as the primary mode of employment for many types of European cavalry, although by this time it was delivered in much deeper formations and with greater discipline than before. The demi-lancers and the heavily armored sword-and-pistol reiters were among the types of cavalry that experienced their heyday in the 16th and 17th centuries. These centuries also witnessed the high-water mark of the Polish winged hussars, a force of heavy cavalry that achieved great success against Swedes, Russians, and Turks alike.
Eighteenth Century Europe and Napoleonic Warfare
Cavalry retained an important role in this age of regularization and standardization across European armies. First and foremost they remained the primary choice for confronting enemy cavalry. Attacking an unbroken infantry force head-on usually resulted in failure, but the extended linear formations were vulnerable to flank or rear attacks. Cavalry was important at Blenheim (1704), Rossbach (1757), Eylau and Friedland (1807), remaining a significant factor throughout the Napoleonic Wars. Massed infantry was deadly to cavalry but also offered an excellent target for artillery. Once the bombardment had disordered the infantry formation, cavalry were able to rout and pursue the scattered footmen. It was not until individual firearms gained accuracy and improved rates of fire that cavalry was diminished in this role as well. Even then light cavalry remained an indispensable tool for scouting, screening the army’s movements, and harassing the enemy’s supply lines until military aircraft supplanted them in this role in the early stages of World War I.
Eylau knew the greatest cavalry charge of the modern history, when the entire French cavalry reserve, lead by Maréchal Murat, launched a huge charge on and through the Russian infantry lines. The French horsemen also proved that cavalry could be a decisive element during the Peninsula War in Spain.
By the 19th century, European cavalry fell into four main categories:
- Cuirassiers, heavy cavalry
- Dragoons, originally mounted infantry but later regarded as medium cavalry
- Hussars, light cavalry
- Lancers or Uhlans, light cavalry armed with lances
There were cavalry variations for individual nations as well: France had the chasseurs à cheval; Germany had the Jäger zu Pferd; Bavaria had the Chevaulegers; and Russia had Cossacks. Britain had no cuirassiers (other than the Household Cavalry), but had Dragoon Guards regiments which were classed as heavy cavalry. In the United States Army, the cavalry were almost always dragoons. The Imperial Japanese Army had its cavalry dressed as hussars, but fought as dragoons.
In the early American Civil War the regular United States Army mounted rifle and dragoon regiments were reorganized and renamed cavalry regiments, of which there were six. Over a hundred other federal and state cavalry regiments were organized, but the infantry played a much larger role in many battles due to its larger numbers, lower cost per rifle fielded, and much easier recruitment. However, cavalry saw a role as part of screening forces and in foraging and scouting. The later phases of the war saw the Federal army developing a truly effective cavalry force fighting as scouts, raiders, and, with repeating rifles, as mounted infantry.
Post Civil War, as the volunteer armies disbanded, the regular army cavalry regiments increased in number from six to ten, among them the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment of Little Bighorn fame, and the African-American U.S. 9th Cavalry Regiment and U.S. 10th Cavalry Regiment. These units, along with others (both cavalry and infantry), collectively became known as the Buffalo Soldiers. These regiments, which rarely took the field as complete organizations, served throughout the Indian Wars through the close of the frontier in the 1890s.
19th-century Imperial Expansion
Cavalry found new success in Imperial operations (irregular warfare), where modern weapons were lacking and the slow moving infantry-artillery train or fixed fortifications were often ineffective against native insurgents (unless the natives offered a fight on an equal footing, as at Tel-el-Kebir, Omdurman, etc). Cavalry “flying columns” proved effective, or at least cost-effective, in many campaigns—although an astute native commander (like Samori in western Africa, Shamil in the Caucasus, or any of the better Boer commanders) could turn the tables and use the greater mobility of their cavalry to offset their relative lack of firepower compared to European forces.
The British Indian Army maintained about forty regiments of cavalry, officered by British and manned by Indian sowars (cavalrymen). The legendary exploits of this branch lives on in literature and early films. Among the more famous regiments in the lineages of modern Indian and Pakistani Armies are:
- Governor General’s Bodyguard (now President’s Bodyguard)
- Skinner’s Horse (now India’s 1st Horse (Skinner’s))
- Gardner’s Lancers (now India’s 2nd Lancers (Gardner’s))
- Hodson’s Horse (now India’s 3rd Horse (Hodson’s)) of the Bengal Lancers fame
- 6th Bengal Cavalry (later amalgamated with 7th Hariana Lancers to form 18th King Edward’s Own Cavalry) now 18th Cavalry of the Indian Army
- Probyn’s Horse (now Pakistani)
- Royal Deccan Horse (now India’s The Deccan Horse)
- Poona Horse (now India’s The Poona Horse)
- Queen’s Own Guides Cavalry (now partitioned between Pakistan and India).
Several of these formations are still active, though they now are armored formations, for example Guides Cavalry in Pakistan.
The French Army maintained substantial cavalry forces in Algeria and Morocco from 1830 until the Second World War. Much of the Mediterranean coastal terrain was suitable for mounted action and there was a long established culture of horsemanship amongst the Arab and Berber inhabitants. The French forces included Spahis, Chasseurs d’ Afrique, Foreign Legion cavalry and mounted Goumiers.