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Happy Presidents’ Day – US Presidents and Their Horses

Filed under: Current Articles,Featured |     

Ronald Reagan and George Bush, photo from the Reagan Presidential Library and Museum


Happy President’s Day!  For many of us, it’s a welcome day off, which was part of its intent.  The History Channel says, “Originally established in 1885 in recognition of President George Washington, the holiday became popularly known as Presidents’ Day after it was moved as part of 1971’s Uniform Monday Holiday Act, an attempt to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers.”

For horse lovers, the ventures of U.S. Presidents and their families can definitely be intriguing, and not just a dry history lesson.  Their past with horses, first a mainstay and necessity for transportation, then later as a true love, contains many interesting facts.

  • For example, did you know that Ulysses S Grant was once arrested for speeding with his horse and buggy in 1872? (CBS News).  In fact, it was his second “interaction” with police on the topic, since he’d been warned the day before about his need for speed.


  • Washington wasn’t just America’s first president, he was also its first mule breeder. (  According to Mount Vernon, in 1785, at one point, he had 136 horses at Mount Vernon.


  • The White House had stables for many years. When President Taft converted the stable into a garage for his steam cars, it was the beginning of the end of the era of the horse at the White House.  In 1911, Taft had the stable demolished.  (White House Historical Association).


Caroline with Macaroni the Pony with JFK. Photo: John F Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

  • In 1956, President Dwight Eisenhower was gifted two Quarter Horses.  Doodle De Do and Sporty Miss were the lucky horses who got to live at Pennsylvania Avenue (AQHA).


  • The song “Sweet Caroline,” by Neil Diamond, was inspired by Caroline Kennedy, whose “Macaroni the Pony” become a beloved sight at the White House. Diamond saw a photograph of Caroline with her pony in a magazine, and wrote the song right afterward.  (American Songwriter).


  • For Ronald Reagan, horses were a great escape, just as they are for many horse lovers. According to the White House Historical Association, Reagan said “Living in the White House,” gave him “a bird-in-a-gilded-cage feeling,” so he went to ride at his ranch in California as often as possible.


  • 33 U.S. Presidents have owned dogs, and 15 have owned horses (CNN).





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