After the Armistice
When the Armistice was signed on November 11, 1918, there were hundreds of thousands of American men and animals in Europe. Just as it had taken over a year to build to these numbers, it would take many months to get the men home. Some animals were still needed, because troops were sent to Germany to occupy that country and prevent further military action, and their animals continued to work alongside them.
There was really no thought to bringing the animals back across the ocean. It was costing huge amounts of money to feed them, and so as soon as they were no longer needed, they were sold - Left Behind, to new lives that might or might not be kind.
For the rest, animals and the men waiting to go home, perhaps occupying Germany, life out of the battle zone was a distinct relief. They found time to have fun, and some of that time was spent on horse events. The Quartermaster's Corps had contests for best turned out team and wagon, while the cavalry units (finally) had the opportunity to ride their horses. They staged horse shows and riding contests, as well as using the time to improve the horsemanship skills of the average trooper. This time was The Lighter Side of the entire wartime experience.
The Lighter Side
The Lighter Side
Immediately after the Armistice and for months thereafter, life for German citizens was still very difficult. Germany had for many years been dependent on imports for food and materials, and the Allies maintained a naval blockade as a deterrent to further uprising and a means to get German leadership to sign, not just a cease-fire, but an actual peace treaty.With German citizens starving and revolts and uprisings happening in multiple cities, the occupying Allied troops were not idle. But they found time to relax, and some of their activities revolved around horses.
After the peace accord had been signed in Paris there was less reason to continue to occupy Germany, and the return of U.S. soldiers to their homes accelerated. But just as it had taken months to get soldiers to Europe, it took as long or longer to get them all home. Some of that time also was filled with horse events.