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The Stories of 5 Famous Horses
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The Stories of 5 Famous Horses

History has provided us with some amazing horses through time. Whether on the racetrack, on the battlefield, or on our television screens, they have made an impact on us in one way or another. Horses are strong, intuitive, and intelligent animals that are versatile working animals and valuable for emotional support. They are loyal, independent, and unique creatures used for a variety of different things. Each of the horses on this list were talented and remembered for something they’ve accomplished.

Seabiscuit

Possibly the most well-known horse on this list is the legendary race horse, Seabiscuit. Seabiscuit’s story is remembered because he overcame adversity to become one of the best racehorses of all time. Seabiscuit was smaller in stature than most and initially he was not a very good racehorse as he failed to win his first 17 races. It wasn’t until he was paired with jockey Red Pollard that his racing luck began to turn around. Seabiscuit started winning race after race and soon he was a favorite in California. Pollard became injured but Seabiscuit kept on winning and beat War Admiral in an amazing match race, but was injured in a race afterward. Seabiscuit and Pollard, who were both expected to have injuries that kept them from racing again, recovered together and continued to beat the odds and win races together again.

Today, many retired racehorses spend their retirement working as therapy horses for those suffering from PTSD, battling addiction, or autism, but when Seabiscuit retired in California, he was put out to stud. He sired 108 foals, two of which were moderately successful racehorses. He passed away six days short of 14 years old.

Budweiser Clydesdales

The Budweiser Clydesdales are obviously not just one horse, or one set of horses, but a group of Clydesdales owned by Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company. There are teams of horses that travel around the U.S. and others that stay in St. Louis, Missouri, or Merrimack, New Hampshire. The Budweiser Clydesdales are some of the most notable and recognizable modern horses as they are used in Budweiser commercials, particularly Super Bowl commercials.

The Clydesdales were first introduced on April 7, 1933 to celebrate the repeal of Prohibition and their advertising potential was realized. In order to qualify to pull one of the Budweiser hitches, the Clydesdale must be a gelding with an even temperament, strong appearance, be at least four years old, stand at least 18 hands at the withers, weigh between 1,800 and 2,300 pounds, be bay in color, have four white stocking feet, and a blaze of white on the face. These horses are beautiful and are the representation of the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company. Without them, they most likely wouldn’t be the recognizable brand they are today.

Bamboo Harvester

You might not recognize the name Bamboo Harvester, but you probably recognize the name Mister Ed. Bamboo Harvester was a movie horse that dazzled the television screen and made people laugh on the set of Mister Ed from 1961-1966. He was foaled in 1949 in California to an American Saddlebred sire and a part-Arabian dam. The gelding was palomino in color and lived until 1968.

Bamboo Harvester played a talking horse and was trained to appear to be talking by using a piece of nylon thread in his mouth. Eventually, though, Bamboo Harvester was trained to move his lips when his trainer touched his hoof and then began doing it on cue whenever his co-star stopped talking. The trick to making Bamboo Harvester appear to talk by using peanut butter was made up by the show’s producers in order to keep kids from realizing how it was actually done, and everyone seemed to believe it. Bamboo was a smart and very talented horse and is responsible for making people laugh across the country.

Bucephalus

Bucephalus might not be a household name, but his owner definitely is. He is one of the most famous horses in the Greco-Roman world and was the horse of Alexander the Great. His name means “ox head” and was named for a branding mark depicting an ox’s head on his haunch. Bucephalus is described as being large with a black coat, a white star on his brow, and a blue eye. Alexander won the horse from his father under the auspis of a bet of being able to tame him. Alexander spoke soothingly to Bucephalus, turned him so he couldn’t see his shadow, and dropped his cloak in order to lessen his distress and gained his trust.

Bucephalus was a war horse for Alexander the Great in numerous battles. In honor of his horse, Alexander founded a city, Bucephala, in honor of his horse. The modern day town of Jalalpur Sharif is said to be where Bucephalus is buried. In honor of his loyal and brave nature, Bucephalus is one of the most famous and revered horses of his time.

Clever Hans

So far on this list we’ve had fast horses, beautiful horses, talented horses, and brave horses; now we have a smart horse named Clever Hans. Clever Hans was an Orlov Trotter horse that was used as a spectacle because he was said to be able to perform simple math equations that required him to add, subtract, multiply, divide, work with fractions, tell time, read, spell, and understand German. Clever Han’s handler never charged for his spectacle, but the horse’s abilities were reported in The New York Times in 1904. Clever Hans would answer written or verbal math questions by tapping his hoof.

After a ton of public interest in Clever Hans and his amazing intelligence, an investigation began in order to test his abilities. After formal investigation, it was found out that Clever Hans was not actually performing these math equations. What he was actually doing was responding to involuntary cues and the body language of his handler who was completely unaware that he was giving Clever Hans any cues at all. While he may not be completing any math problems, he is an extremely intelligent and intuitive horse that was reacting to miniscule and unintentional gestures that his handler was making - which is pretty amazing in itself.

There are a ton of famous horses that were left off this list including General Lee’s horse Traveller, Burmese, the horse of Queen Elizabeth II, and Man o’ War, the amazing racehorse. All of these horses are also fascinating animals in their own right. Each of the horses on this list are well known for their own unique talent and exemplify all of the great aspects of these animals. Horses are extremely strong, athletic, intelligent, and beautiful creatures and each horse on this list have all of these attributes. Whether they race, look beautiful, make you laugh, battle, or exemplify intelligence, all of these horses have amazing stories.

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  1. Of Horse Support
    Of Horse Support
    Fascinating stuff! Thanks for the post!
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