I’ve always loved horses.
If you were to visit me, you’d find a dozen framed photos and posters throughout my house. I have no idea where my equestrian streak stems from, but it’s there, ignited at a moment’s notice, bringing me to an assortment of Americans, and their mounts, as they’re reverently called.
Where shall I start? With Caroline Kennedy’s pony, Macaroni, a gift from Vice President Lyndon Johnson when she was 3, or her mom’s first mare, named Danseuse, she often called Danny.
JFK didn’t like horses much since he was allergic to them, passing it on to his namesake, John Junior, who didn’t ride either.
So, let’s begin with Theodore Roosevelt’s Little Texas he majestically rode up San Juan Hill.
When you go to Sagamore Hill, his home in Oyster Bay, Long Island, Little Tex is buried in its pet cemetery.
Teddy killed everything that moved, but when it came to his horses, all bets were off, so to speak.
While in the White House, he had Bleistein, imported from Sagamore Hill along with the rest of TR’s beloved family.
U.S. Grant during the American Civil War, favored Cincinnati, the son of Lexington, the fastest four-mile thoroughbred in the country at the time. He also had a secondary horse called Jack, and another, Jeff Davis.
Not to be undone, we mustn’t forget Traveller, Robert E. Lee’s gray colored stallion that never left his side during that same war. His backup horse was called Lucy Long, a gift from General J.E.B. Stuart, a favorite of Lee’s who was killed at the Battle of Yellow Tavern in 1864.
When Lucy was captured during the Second Battle of Winchester in 1863, Lee, after the war, out of sentiment for Stuart, paid a vast amount to get her back. That tale always warms me, that he cared so much.
As for Traveller, dying not long after his master in 1871, his colt, as Lee called him, is buried alongside him at Lee Chapel on the grounds of Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.
Abraham Lincoln’s horse was called Old Bob he trotted around Washington looking almost as if Bob were a pony, Abe being 6’4 and all, his feet almost touching the ground.
George Armstrong Custer’s, Comanche, was a mixed-breed who survived the Battle of the Little Bighorn (June 25, 1876) though his master did not.
Whenever I see a riderless horse at a funeral, I think of Comanche coming home alone…
a riderless horse without a rider, boots reversed in the stirrups symbolizing the fallen.
Blackjack at JFK’s funeral, November 25, 1963.
Staying with Civil War Generals and their 4-footed friends…
William Tecumseh Sherman had Dolly, then Duke, he rode during his famous March to the Sea.
James Longstreet’s main horse was Fly-By-Night, a gift from Robert E. Lee, but was on Hero, during the Battle of Gettysburg.
George McClellan favorited Kentuck, with Black Burns and Daniel Webster as secondaries.
Thomas Stonewall Jackson only had Little Sorrel, whose bones are buried at the Virginia Military Institute Museum in Lexington, by a stature of Jackson.
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, Union hero of Gettysburg’s Battle of Little Round Top, rode Charlemagne he himself bought for $150.
J.E.B. Stuart had Skylark, Highfly, and My Maryland, but rode a mare named Virginia during the Gettysburg campaign. Not too surprising being the ladies’ man that he was.
And last but not least, Union General, Philip Sheridan’s Rienzi, later renamed Winchester after his famous ride at the Battle of Winchester, who, if you’re interested, is stuffed and on display at The Smithsonian Museum of National History in Washington D.C..
Well, it’s of tremendous interest to me. 🙂