In 1807 Napoleon authorized the raising of a guard regiment of Polish light horse. His motives were probably political as there seems to have been a vague promise that an independent Polish state would be established.
Qualifications for enlistment were high. Applicants had to be landowners, or the sons of landowners. Some financial backing was necessary, as those accepted had to provide their own uniforms, saddlery and horses.
In the beginning the Guard Lighthorse were armed with sabers, pistols, carbines and bayonets but at the end of 1809 the lance was introduced and The Guard Lighthorsemen became Lighthorse- Lancers or simply Guard Lancers.
Whatever his motives, Napoleon had managed to obtain the services of some of the finest soldiers who ever served under him and they are famous for never retreating unless ordered to do so.