George Sherston, an orphan. He is reared by his aunt. His skill with horses gains him entry into high society, a life he cannot afford. He also excels as a cricket player. World War I finds him refusing a commission because he distrusts his ability. After serving in the cavalry, he ends up as an infantry officer fighting bravely but angrily as he sees his friends killed. This character is a thinly veiled portrait of the author.
Aunt Evelyn, who rears George. She buys him his first pony when he is nine years old and later sells a ring to buy him a jumper, Cockbird.
Tom Dixon, Evelyn’s groom and George’s riding teacher, who is killed in George’s infantry company in France.
Mr. Star, George’s incompetent tutor.
Mr. Pennett, George Sherston’s penurious and unsympathetic trustee.
Denis Milden, George’s boyhood friend and later Master of the Ringwell Hounds and the Packlestone Hunt.
Stephen Colwood, an excellent horseman killed in France during the war.
Nigel Croplady, a wealthy braggart. He is defeated by George, with Stephen’s encouragement, in the Colonel’s Cup Race.
Captain Huxtable, a neighbor who gets George an infantry commission.
Dick Tiltwood, a young soldier in George’s company. He is killed in the trenches.