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Monday, 27 July 2015

Famous Horses in History

From his boyhood days, Alexander the Great had a beautiful dark colored horse called Bucephalus whom he loved riding. Bucephalus was a stallion of high temper that no one could tame, until the ten-year-old prince succeeded by turning the horse's head into the sun as he'd noticed the stallion's own shadow was upsetting it. Alexander went on to teach the great horse to kneel so that his master could mount him in full armour. Bucephalus served him until his death after the Battle of the Hydaspes in what is now Pakistan in 326BC .

The Roman Emperor Caligula raised his favorite horse Incitatus to the rank of senator. When he died, it was deprived of its privileges

The horse on which Lady Godiva is said to have ridden naked through Coventry was named Aethenoth, which means 'Noble Audacity.'

When Hernando Cortés' horse, El Morzillo fell sick in 1524 and was left with the Maya Indians, they worshiped him as a new god. They had never seen a horse before the Conquistadors arrived and rode on deer. The Aztecs were so struck with horror at the sight of Cortés' mounted soldiers that believing they were confronted with divine creatures they felt it futile to resist them.

The most famous trained animal of Shakespeare's day was the bay horse Morocco, shown by John Banks; as exhibited in the yard of the Belle Sauvage, London, it returned gloves to their owners, told the number of coins, and danced (warranting a mention in Love's Labour's Lost).

King William III had a horse called Sorrell who was blind in one eye. When Sorrell stumbled over a mole hill in Hampton Court Park, the English king fell off on breaking his collar bone. A fortnight later he died from his injuries.

The oldest horse recorded was Old Billy who was foaled in 1760 and died in 1822 at the age of 62.

Potoooooooo (1773-1800) was one of the greatest racehorses of all time. He acquired the unique name because his stable lad didn’t know how to spell potato.

Napoleon's favorite was a white Barbary Egyptian horse called Marengo (1793-1831). He was named after the 1800 Battle of Marengo where his performance had impressed Napoleon.

Napoleon Crossing the Alps painted by Jacques-Louis David. The horse in the painting is believed to be Marengo.

Marengo was wounded eight times in his career, and carried the Emperor in the Battle of Austerlitz, Battle of Jena-Auerstedt, Battle of Wagram, and Battle of Waterloo.

The French emperor was still riding it at Waterloo and Marengo outlived Napoleon after he was captured by the British and brought to London.

Copenhagen was the Duke of Wellington's war horse, which he most famously rode at the Battle of Waterloo. He was a three-quarter Thoroughbred, one-quarter Arabian. Copenhagen died on February 12, 1836 at the age of 28 from eating too many sponge cakes, bath buns and chocolate creams.

Copenhagen as painted in his retirement by Samuel Spode.

Anna Sewell's classic animal welfare novel Black Beauty was published on November 24, 1877. It tells the life story of the titular horse named Black Beauty, beginning with his carefree days as a colt on an English farm with his mother, to his difficult life pulling cabs in London, to his happy retirement in the country. The book played a key part in the successful campaign to abolish the check-rein, a strap which stopped a horse from lowering its head.

Source Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc.

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