The ANZAC Service held in Bulls, Rangitikei is the only one of its kind.

Today, around 100 people and 30 horses gathered on the outskirts of Bulls to remember a special horse called Bess and all the war animals that never returned home.

Proud Bulls local, Heather Thorby has spent her life learning and sharing the region's history, but she has a special interest in Bess and her journey.

"From what we understand none of the Australian horses went back, and only four horses from WWI returned from the 10,000 [that were sent]," Thorby said.


"Bess was an exceptional animal and the close bond Colonel Powles had with his horse is absolutely brought out by the beautiful statue and the white marble that sit on top of this hill top."

Bess was four years old when she was sent to war and was one of the lucky ones to make it home, which wasn't the case for many.

"The horses didn't vote to go, they went from a quiet country existence into a desert, into mud of warfare.

When you see the pictures of the New Zealand horses that were in great rows shot on the scenes of Sinai that must have been heartbreaking for the horsemen that rode them," said Thorby.

The story goes that Bess passed away exactly where the memorial now stands, while her owner Colonel Powles was riding her.

"Colonel Powles actually acknowledged that Bess was a part of him, well it would be after 6 years of war. [He said] she had this wonderful calm temperament under panic. Even though she got shrapnel on her backside, which must have been painful, she never flinched."

Animals are often forgotten victims of war, but not so in this town where their friendship and sacrifice is remembered each year.

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