During the Boer war, the cavalry learned many lessons about horse-management.

A week after the relief of Ladysmith, General Roberts resumed his advance on Bloemfontein with 30,000 men to take on a Boer force at Poplar Grove. The Cavalry Division was ordered to turn the left flank of the enemy, which entailed an approach march of 30 miles (48km) followed by an engagement. The Boers, seeing the cloud of dust produced by the cavalry, pulled out.

The cavalry tried to catch them but the horses were so tired after their march across the waterless veldt that they were barely able to trot. Their daily ration was 10 lbs (4.5 kg) of oats and 10 lbs of hay, but often the horses had to make do with just a handful of oats and whatever coarse, dry grass they could forage from the veldt. The soldiers often fared worse, with a couple of dry army biscuits. After Poplar Grove, much of the equipment carried by the troop horses was removed onto carts to lighten their load. Lessons were certainly learned in the Boer War about horse-management, march discipline, water supply, and a professional military supply organisation.