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History Blog

November 23, 2013

Remembering Black Jack

On Nov. 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed while traveling through Dallas, Texas, in his motorcade. America’s grief over their fallen president was accentuated by the sight of Black Jack, the coal black, riderless horse that participated in Kennedy’s funeral procession with his boots reversed in his stirrups, a poignant symbol of our country’s fallen hero.

November 10, 2011

Astley’s Horses Start The Circus

Philip Astley, 24, returned to London a new man: Seven years backing cavalry horses in Col. Granville Elliot’s 15th Light Dragoons had quashed the familial tensions he’d joined the army to avoid. Alongside the Prussians in the French and Indian war, he’d rescued the Duke of Brunswick from enemy territory. By his discharge in 1776, he’d risen to a stature of 6 feet and a rank of sergeant major. Elliot, now a general, bestowed upon his soldier an opulent parting gift: a white stallion named Gibraltar. 

September 29, 2011

Xenophon, Forefather Of Dressage

Riding is an empirical art. When we witness that rare round or freestyle, we know that we’re watching something beautiful. But how do we know?

September 15, 2011

Looking Back On 85 Years Of The Green Mountain Horse Association

“One of the most dramatic demonstrations of concern and affection for GMHA took place following the flood of 1973,” wrote former Green Mountain Horse Association President Eileene Wilmot in Green Mountain Horse Association, 1926-1990s. “We all met to view the disaster and destruction, some of us with faint hearts. I never will forget Wilson Haubrich, who quietly said, ‘We have 120 children arriving in two days; we must get this fixed.’ Friends and members came down from the hills and up the valleys… In two days we were ready to receive the children.”

August 29, 2011

From Leeds to Stamford, Burghley Ensured An Historic Three-Day Event

In London, 1961, authorities announced the discovery of a clandestine Soviet spy ring. In Liverpool, little-known skiffle group the Beatles first gigged in the Cavern Club’s cellar. And in Leeds, an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease left sportsmen dismayed that the annual three-day event at Harewood House, home to the Earl of Harewood, would likely be canceled.

August 18, 2011

James Watt And The Revolution Of Horsepower

Stand beside the finish line of any racetrack in the world and dare yourself to remain unflapped. I’ve tried; it’s futile. The pack rounds the turn, and involuntarily your pulse quickens, eyes darting from hooves to outstretched necks to flying manes and tails as the hijinks of the bettors beside you intensify, the final moments igniting in a blaze of speed so fast it almost takes your breath away. You ask yourself: horsepower? Have I just felt the physical effects?

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