Again, this isn't the case with most cavalry officers' messes. It works for us for some reason. I suspect it's because people opt in to the tradition when they join the unit so there's a sense that you've volunteered to join the mess traditions. There's also an element of only having other junior officers in the mess so you don't have to worry about grownups.I can honestly hand on heart say that enforced anything, doesn't work. The only person who will truly think it works is the person who organised it, because of the attendance.
It might seem like everyone's having fun, but guaranteed there will be people asking themselves or each other, "When's the earliest I can **** off?".
Sure, there are nights where I just wanted to eat in my room and not socialise but that's exactly why attendance at dinner is enforced. Provided the mess isn't too much of a bullying environment with senior captains forcing the subbies to stay up for no reason, I think the enforcement works well. It means that almost everyone enjoys the mess more because it becomes a more sociable environment. Many of the best nights we had in the mess started on a random Thursday night because we were all at dinner together then someone called for fancy dress when we were all drinking in the ante room afterwards.
I do remember instances of compulsory attendance major dinners for certain events where the CO and field officers would be in. Those were often unpopular and caused a lot of moaning among the junior officers. That's very different to the compulsory supper every night or the mess ball which was very much 'our' event.
I can definitely understand why the same doesn't work so well with a corps or line infantry mess where joining a traditional mess environment isn't part of the deal but it works for the cav. It's also worth noting that it isn't remotely a case of only the person enforcing it having fun; cavalry messes are self enforcing with fines normally enthusiastically administered by other junior officers.