Supporters of a feature length documentary on New Zealand’s War Horses of World War 1 are pressing on with the project despite missing a crowdfunding target.
The Anzac Horse appeal aimed to raise $5000 on Boosted.org.nz to go toward production costs, and while the project didn’t meet its target, several of the refunded pledges had already been returned to the producers by supporters wanting to see the project through to fruition.
The film Anzac Horse, by award-winning director Julian McCarthy, is about the New Zealand Mounted Rifles who went to World War 1, taking their own horses. The story has particular focus on the Canterbury Mounted Rifles but will include all the Mounted Rifle Brigades from New Zealand in WW1.
“The Mounted Rifles were a unique and brave group of men and horses. They were not a cavalry. As the saying goes, ‘the Cavalry only ride forth when the echo of machine guns has ceased’,” producers say.
They aim to take the documentary to the New Zealand Film festival, and a TV cut is also being made for national and international TV channels.
“It was the New Zealand Mounted Rifles, along with the Australian Light Horses that were the ones to ride first into a battle zone, close to (and sometimes across) enemy lines. Man and horse did this together, through machinegun and shell fire. Dismounting, they would begin battle, to hold position, fighting valiantly til relief from the slower-moving foot soldiers could reach them. The allied Sinai and Palestine Campaign owes much of its success to these men and horses.
“We believe this is a story that needs to be told, to honour the men and the horses of Canterbury, and New Zealand as a country. Their place in history will soon be lost forever, as their descendants and the untold stories that they carry with them slowly leave us. Little attention has been given to the New Zealand men and their horses in the Sinai and Palestine campaigns. Their story of survival, bravery and triumph in the harshest of conditions of the desert, is sorely absent from our history books and film.
“Many horse and riders fell in World War One. The suffering of soldiers is, to some extent known, but the horses faced particular sufferings too – with extended sea travel, sea sickness, lack of food and water, exhaustion, skin diseases, brutal wounds and harsh climates.
“We aim to shed light on this. It is only fitting that this documentary is made in the Centennial year of Gallipoli.”