The All American Equestrian
Thomas Jefferson once described the qualities that only a few Americans know about George Washington:
“His person, you know, was fine, his stature exactly what one would wish, his deportment easy, erect and noble; the best horseman of his age, and the most graceful figure that could be seen on horseback...”1
George the Horseman
It all started at an early age. As a boy, George learned from his mother, Mary Washington, how to carefully manage and train horses.2 At the age of 17, he owned his first horse. Growing to be a proficient horseman, George’s methods of equine handling and training were later commended by Frenchman, Marquis de Chastellux:
“He was so attentive as to give me the horse he rode on the day of my arrival, which I had greatly commended. I found him as good as he is handsome, but above all, perfectly well broke and well trained having a good mouth, easy in hand, and stopping short in a gallop without bearing the bit. I mention these minute particulars, because it is the General himself who breaks all his own horses, and his is a very excellent and bold horseman, leaping the highest fences, and going extremely quick, without standing upon his stirrups, bearing on the bridle, or letting his horse run wild.”3
During the rigorous American Revolution, George Washington astride his warhorse was a symbol of courage to rally the troops. Like any horseman, George had a favorite horse to ride—one was named Nelson.