Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Presidential Horses

Horses have been a part of Presidential life since, well the beginning and are the second-most-popular Presidential pet (behind dogs).  George Washington was one of the greatest horse loving Presidents of all time. He was an avid fox hunter (who knew?)  and one of his favorite horses was Nelson who went into battle with him. Nelson lived out his life at Mount Vernon, well into his thirties.  Washington also brushed his horses teeth.

In 1797, John Adams built the first stables at the White House for his horses.

Thomas Jefferson always rode a bay horse and he owned Morgans.

FDR also rode horses despite his battle with polio.

Andrew Jackson's wartime mount was Sam Patches, but he also had racing horses.

Ulysses S. Grant, who had been leader of the Union Army during the Civil War, stabled 10 horses and ponies, including one flippantly named Jeff Davis, after the president of the defunct Confederacy. Grant was regarded as one of the greatest equestrians of his era; in fact, before the war, he had set equestrian records at West Point and had ridden wild broncos in circuses.   The photo below is of Cincinnati
(1860 – 1878),  probably Grant’s favorite horse. He was a tall thoroughbred that measured 17 hands highCincinnati was with General Grant throughout the war and was the horse that Grant rode to negotiate Lee’s surrender at Appomattox.Cincinnati was with General Grant for the rest of his life; even during the time that General Grant was President. Cincinnati was kept in the White House Stables.

Zachary Taylor also kept his old warhorse Old Whitey (whom he rode sidesaddle into battle) on the White House lawn. There, visitors would pluck hairs from his tail for souvenirs. When Taylor died, the horse followed his master's body in the funeral procession. 

Teddy Roosevelt had such bad asthma that he learned to ride at an early age hoping it would make him stronger. His two children had horses when he was at the White House.  Archie or Quentin (depending on the source), one his sons, became very sick and was bedridden for months. His pony Algonquin was brought into the White House (and used the elevator) to reach the sick child'sbedside.  He became the only pony to ever use the White House elevator (that we know of).

Bill Clinton also liked to ride.He would borrow the park police horses and with Chelsea would ride.

Ronald Reagan was an avid equestrian.  He learned to ride in the Calvary (now he is really showing his age).  He landed many roles in westerns due to his riding ability. He rode on his ranch in California and also in Rock Creek Park. 

He also rode with Queen Elizabeth:

And we've all seen photos of Caroline Kennedy's pony, Macaroni, who lived at the White House during the Kennedy administration.

The polls close here in less than an hour and we'll spend the rest of the evening watching the returns.  Hope everyone voted!  Let's see what happens tonight! 

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