7th Ohio Cavalry

General Order 101

Picketing horses at an event


1. Per cavalry regulations the picket line should be 36 to 48 inches off the ground. The line should be 3/4 inch diameter. It should be supported at least every 40 feet.   A highline is another option.  A highline picket line should be 8 feet off the ground and supported along its length at intervals with poles.  Remember the closer packed your horses are the less rest they get so if there is the space, highline for your horse's comfort.

2. Horses should be spaced at 4 to 5ft intervals on the regulation picket line. If picketing on both sides, 4 ft between ties.  On a highline they should be at 9 ft intervals.   All horses should be tied with the same hold-fast/quick release knot.  Leads should not touch the ground without the horse having to pull the line down a bit.

3. the picket line should be free of debris, rocks, tangles etc, at least 10ft on each side of the line. The ground should be firm and dry. Good drainage is a plus, but you can't always pick the spot.

4. The line should be kept taut, adjust it regularly at least twice a day.

5. Keep the line clean. Muck every time you see a pile up, try to muck at least 4 times daily. Put the manure far enough away from the line to minimize the fly problem.

6. Keep the line well hayed 24 hrs a day. (There’s enough to eat but not to waste). Feed all horses on the line at the same time.  Keep buckets of water filled on the line.

7. Do not punish, or excessively discipline horses on the line. Do not use whip, crops or bats on the line. (Excessive, is any discipline that would be considered abuse. We will ask you to leave the event and possibly the unit. No horse should be abused or hurt EVER! (Of course we will not have this problem since we all care about our companion).

8.If there are any horses not getting along, then move the horses around on the line until some harmony is reached. Many mares will go into season on the line so keep moving them if harmony changes.  In ideal conditions mares should be separated from geldings.  

9. Set up a separate line for hotheads. You can't fix a problem in a weekend so don't fight it. The rest of the line should not suffer for a hothead horse's foolishness. Sometimes walking the horse around will calm it down.

10. First thing in the morning, every rider will inspect their horse for cuts, scrapes, and illness. Hoofs should be kept extra clean and shoes inspected. Check for saddle and work related sores and injuries before and after every ride. Set up a separate section on the line for the sick and injured if necessary.

11. Assign a picket line guard 24hrs. Have a good vet first aid kit close by. All troopers assigned to the guard should be aware of special problems with any horse on the line and they should know the symptoms of colic and other picket line maladies. Flash lights or battery operated lamps may not be authentic, but a powerful one needs to be available for the night guard if necessary. Do not use candles or oil lamps on the line if there is a problem. Also be ware of any horse habits like which ones lay down and sleep.

12. Keep the horses calm and content with praise and small treats, especially in less than ideal conditions. An eating horse is a quiet and happy horse.

13. Do not discharge firearms at or near the line.

14. Keep the public and children away from the horses.

        15. Unsaddle the horses if the next battle is 2 hours or more.

        This way “boots and    saddle” can be called and it is each trooper’s

        responsibility to get ready for the next battle.

The picket line at a reenactment event should serve as a sanctuary for the horses. Let them rest, eat and be well cared for. It is the best training experience they can have.



Jeff Thompson

Jeff Thompson

Lieutenant, Commanding

7th Ohio Cavalry Reg’t


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