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Monday, June 23, 2014

Famous Horses

George Washington’s Horses, Blueskin and Old Nelson

Washington and Blueskin
      Washington had several horses throughout the Revolutionary War. Two of these were named Old Nelson and Blueskin.
      In a letter to a friend, Mr. John Hunter, an English visitor to Mt. Vernon in 1785, stated:
     "When dinner was over, we visited the General's stables, saw his magnificent horses, among them ‘Old Nelson,’ now twenty-two years of age, that carried the General almost always during the war. ‘Blueskin,’ another fine old horse, next to him, had that honor. They had heard the roaring of many a cannon in their time. ‘Blueskin’ was not the favorite on account of his not standing fire so well as venerable ‘Old Nelson.’ The General makes no manner of use of them now. He keeps them in a nice stable, where they feed away at their ease for their past services."

Paul Revere’s Horse, Brown Beauty
Paul Revere on Brown Beauty
      Paul Revere left several accounts of his ride, and although he states that for his famous ride he borrowed the horse from John Larkin, he referred to it simply as “a very good horse.” Many names have been attached to the animal, one being Scheherazade. The only name for which there is any evidence, however, is Brown Beauty.

Brigadier General Francis Marion’s Horse, Ball

Marion and Ball
      In a skirmish at Black Mingo Creek, SC, General Marion’s forces defeated the British including Tory Colonel John Cummins Ball. Marion captured Col. Ball’s sorrel gelding, which he rode the rest of the war. He named the horse, Ball

Some Other Famous Horses Throughout History
(This list is taken from A Writer’s Guide to Horses, which I compiled for the Long Riders Guild Academic Foundation, who gave me permission to use it.)
Babieca, horse of Ruy Diaz or El Cid whose last instruction was that his body be secured on Babieca, in full armor and with sword raised. When they led the Spanish knights into battle, the 
moors fled, crying that El Cid had risen from the dead.
Black Bess, highwayman Dick Turpin's horse
Black Nell, Wild Bill Hickok's horse
Blackie, Chief Sitting Bull’s horse
Bucephalus, Alexander the Great's horse, name means “oxhead”
Burmese, Queen Elizabeth II’s favorite, a gift from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Buttermilk, Dale Evans' horse
Byerly Turk, one of three stallions from whom all Thoroughbreds are descended
Champion, Gene Autrey's horse
Cincinnati, one of Ulysses S. Grant's horses, his favorite
Comanche, of mustang origin, sole survivor of General George Custer's command at the Battle of the  Little Bighorn on June 25, 1876
Copenhagen, Duke of Wellington's horse he rode at the Battle of Waterloo
Eclipse, the horse who won every race he entered, and whose descendants include Desert Orchid, Arkle and all but three of the Derby winners of the past fifty years
El Alamein, President Ronald Reagan’s favorite white Arabian stallion
Godolphin Arabian, one of three stallions from whom all Thoroughbreds are descended
Incitatus, Emperor Caligula's horse
Isham, Buffalo Bill Cody's white horse
Jim, former milk cart horse used to produce diphtheria antitoxin; contamination of this antitoxin inspired the Biologics Control Act of 1902
King, a foundation sire of the Quarter Horse breed
Lexington, US Civil War General William T. Sherman’s horse; Sherman also rode Dolly and Sam
Llamrei, steed of King Arthur
Marengo, Napoleon's horse
Old Sorrel, Stonewall Jackson's horse (sometimes called Little Sorrel or Fancy)
Red Fox, Jesse James’s horse
Rocinante, Don Quixote's horse
Sampson, tallest horse ever recorded; stood 21.2½ hands high
Scout, Tonto's horse
Silver, The Lone Ranger's horse
Tornado, El Zorro's horse
Traveller, US Civil War Confederate General Robert E. Lee's horse
Trigger, Roy Rogers' Palomino
Virginia, US Civil War Maj. Gen. Jeb Stuart’s horse credited with saving Stuart from capture by jumping an enormous ditch


  1. I love reading about famous horses. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. You're welcome, Jessica. It's interesting to me to see how emotionally attached "horse people" become to their horses, and also what they name them.

  3. What an interesting post, Susan. I remember the first time I saw Little Sorrel, Stonewall Jackson's horse. He is in the museum at the Virginia Military Institute VMI, where my younger son went to college.

    1. Thank you, Janet. Interesting about VMI. Was it a statue?

  4. Love horses and love this article! Thank you, Susan! Lots of ideas here for names for fictional steeds in our stories. :-)

    1. I love horses, too. I think all of the names are interesting, some more than others.

  5. Oooh, love this!!! And thanks for the list. Some of them I knew, and some I didn't ...

    1. Glad you like the post, Shannon. There's a longer list on the Long Riders' Guild Academic Foundation site. I had to edit it for length.

  6. So very interesting - thanks for sharing :)

  7. Good article, Susan. I've tweeted it and posted on my FB page. Hugs, Elva Cobb Martin

    1. Thanks, Elva, for passing the post along. Hugs back to you. :-)

  8. I'm a horse lover and always love these horse posts of yours, Susan. Very enjoyable! Thank you!

  9. Enjoyed your post on famous horses Susan. Yes, there are many people who love their horses like some love their cats and dogs. I used to have a big roan horse . His name was Chyenne. Great horse but I wasn't an excellent horse rider. It was always a tug of war to get him to go where I wanted to go, and he usually won. But my hubby had no problem. LOL Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <


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