Monday, December 11, 2017

Jeff Davis--the Quarter Running Horse of General Grant

In the June 2017 edition of Equus magazine, Dr. Deb Bennett wrote an article "Horses of the Civil War." Her focus was on types of horses, their origins, and development of subsequent breeds during this time frame. Of course, she discuses the "appalling slaughter" of horses and men in this conflict.

My attention was drawn to the photo of Jeff Davis--a captured, 14.2 hand, ambling, black pony that became one of General Grant's favorite riding horses--because of his resemblance to an Icelandic horse. Bennett identifies Jeff Davis as a "quarter running horse," which formed the basis of the American Quarter Horse, and was a mixture of "Thoroughbred, Morgan, Hobby and Narragansett Pacer." She sees a high percentage of Hobby in Jeff Davis. Icelandics and Kerry Bogs are very close cousins of the Hobby which no longer exists as a breed but was important in the development of the Thoroughbred, Morgan, Quarter Horse, and gaited breeds.

Here's a description of Jeff Davis, the pony, from General Grant's son:
"During the campaign and siege of Vicksburg, a cavalry raid or scouting party arrived at Joe Davis' plantation (the brother of Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy) and there captured a black pony which was brought to the rear of the city and presented to me. The animal was worn out when it reached headquarters but was a very easy riding horse and I used him once or twice. With care he began to pick up and soon carried himself in fine shape.

At that time my father was suffering with a carbuncle and his horse being restless caused him a great deal of pain. It was necessary for General Grant to visit the lines frequently and one day he took this pony for that purpose. The gait of the pony was so delightful that he directed that he be turned over to the quartermaster as a captured horse and a board of officers be convened to appraise the animal. This was done and my father purchased the animal and kept him until he died, which was long after the Civil War. This pony was known as "Jeff Davis."​"

So if a famous Civil War general, who was known for his riding skills, rode a "pony" then none of us should worry about what folks think when we ride our Icelandics with their "so delightful" gaits.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Blesssi Stars in His Own Comic Book

Here is Blessi as a comic  super hero.  He has some definite thoughts on the subject.   You can listen to what Blessi is thinking if you turn on the closed captions.  (The iphone offers some amazing, simple to use video software.)

Thursday, December 7, 2017

2017 Icelandic Horse World Championships

Here's highlights from the 2017 Icelandic Horse World Championships. Nothing like a fast flying pace to rev up expectations!