President's Week was last Monday, so with the celebration of the country's past and present Commanders in Chief, we thought a look at their relationships with their equines was worth a shot. I think we can all appreciate someone who dedicates themselves to the well-being of their animals, all politics aside.
1. George Washington
Our first president, George Washington, was the proud owner of a plethora of horses. Albeit, the most notable out of all five stallions under his ownership were Blueskin and Nelson. Blueskin was part Arab, named after his blue-grey coat. He was appreciated for his endurance and strength, common assets of the Arabian breed. On the contrary, Nelson was the preferred war mount for his ability to withstand the chaos of gunshots and loud noises around him. Nelson stood at 16hh and boasted a chestnut coat.
2. Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson was a well-known Thoroughbred breeder located in his native state: Tennessee where He owned and operated Clover Bottom Mansion in part (pictured). His dedication to his practice and his equines prompted him to relocate his breeding operations and his favorite thoroughbred, Thruxton, to the White House. Thruxton was born in Virginia and trained by Jackson himself.
Interestingly enough, Andrew's dedication to the sport also led him to duel with a famous law attorney, Charles Dickinson (not the author by the same name). There had been a disagreement upon the fees due after a race was cancelled, and when Charles insulted Andrew via a piece in the local newspaper, a duel was proposed. This happened to be the third duel Andrew Jackson had participated in. Andrew Jackson won the duel after Charles Dickinson received wounds that proved to be fatal.
3. Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant acquired several horses throughout his life, but the two most significant horses include Cincinnati and Jeff Davis. Cincinnati was a large, 17hh Thoroughbred out of the well known thoroughbred sire, Lexington. He was used frequently in the latter part of the Civil War, and was also ridden frequently by Abraham Lincoln while he visited the camp. On the other hand, Jeff Davis was a black pony that was acquired during the capture of Joe Davis’ plantation. The pony was originally meant for Ulysses Grant’s son but Ulysses ended up working the little guy for his own uses.
The photo of Clover Bottom Mansion is credited to the Tennessee Historical Commission's Facebook page.
4. Abraham Lincoln
Although Abraham Lincoln was fond of all animals, he was especially admirable towards his horse Robin, or “Old Bob” as he was most commonly referred to. Old Bob was a chestnut horse with a medium build and a strong, well-formed neck. He was so appreciated by Lincoln that he was included in Abraham Lincoln’s funeral processions, where he followed the hearse, draped in black. Old Bob was even acknowledged by Breyer when they made him into a model horse (pictured right).
As equestrians and animal lovers, it's always encouraging to have a President that cares just as much about his animals as we do. Happy (belated) President's Day from the K and T Team!