H. Septimus Power was first deployed as an official war artist on the Western Front in September 1917. Attached to the First Division, Australian Imperial Force, Power witnessed the 3rd Battle of Ypres, the major British offensive in Flanders, Belgium in 1917. Here he depicts the difficult conditions from unseasonal rain in land that had been fought over since 1914. Shell holes filled with water and trees denuded of foliage impeded progress of the limbers bringing machine gun ammunition to the front.
Before the war, the New Zealand-born Australian was living in London where he focused his work on hunting scenes and other equine subjects. When he was commissioned as an official war artist he was invited to continue his focus on horses. In this work the humans seem almost incidental to the action, the horses strain to pull their burdens through the deep mud.