Have you ever heard the statement that one can tell how the rider of a horse died by the placement of the hooves of the horse? It is said that if one on the horse's hooves is raised, the rider was wounded in battle or possibly died of those wounds later; two raised hooves, death in battle; all four hooves on the ground, the rider survived all battles unharmed. Although there are a number of statues where this holds true, there is no validity to this lore.
There are, however, several instances where this is true:
The hoof code in the Battle of Gettysburg holds true with one exception. James Longstreet was not wounded in this battle. His horse has one foot raised.
Washington, DC has more equestrian statues than any other city in the United States. In fact, it has more than thirty (30) horse statues. Upon careful examination only ten out of thirty follow the hoof code stated above. This article will be updated from time to time as my husband continues to photograph these statues.
Francis Asbury was born August 20, 1745 and died March 31, 1816). He was one of the first two bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States. As a young man in October 1771, the Englishman traveled to America and, during his 45 years there, he devoted his life to ministry, traveling on horseback and by carriage thousands of miles to those living on the frontier. Asbury spread Methodism in America, as part of the Second Great Awakening. He also founded several schools during his lifetime, although his own formal education was limited. His journal is valuable to scholars for its account of frontier society.
All hooves on ground; died in peace. This horse statue, Francis Asbury, is one of two that faces away from the White House in the District of Columbia. All the others face toward the White House. John Wesley on horseback, at the American University Theological Seminary is the other statue. See below.
All hooves on ground; died in peace. This statue of John Wesley on his horse, in the District of Columbia is one of two that is not life size "...An equestrian statue of John Wesley, founder of Methodism, stands at the base of a hill. Recalling Wesley's part in the Methodist heritage which has its roots in Britain, this statue is an exact replica of one located in Wesley's Chapel in Bristol, England. It was dedicated in 1964. This statue is of particular note because of all the statues of people on horseback in Washington DC, all face the White House except for two. This statue of John Wesley and another of Francis Asbury, one of the first Methodist bishops in America, are the only two facing in other directions."
John Wesley was born 28 June 1703 and died 2 March 1791. He was an Anglican cleric and Christian theologian. Wesley is largely credited, along with his brother Charles Wesley, as founding the Methodist movement which began when he took to open-air preaching in a similar manner to George Whitefield. In contrast to Whitefield's Calvinism, Wesley embraced the Arminian doctrines that were dominant in the 18th-century Church of England. Methodism in both forms became a highly successful evangelical movement in Britain and later in the United States. His work also helped lead to the development of the Holiness movement and Pentecostalism. Wesley helped to organise and form societies of Christians throughout Great Britain, North America and Ireland as small groups that developed intensive, personal accountability, discipleship and religious instruction among members. His great contribution was to appoint itinerant, unordained preachers who travelled widely to evangelise and care for people in the societies. Under Wesley's direction, Methodists became leaders in many social issues of the day, including the prison reform and abolitionism movements.
Location: 4400 Massachusetts Ave NW (Outside Wesley Theological Seminary) Washington, DC, American University
"Field Marshal Sir John Greer Dill, GCB, CMG, DSO (25 December 1881-4 November 1944) was a British commander in World War I and World War II. From May 1940 to December 1941 he was the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, the professional head of the British Army, and subsequently in Washington, as Chief of the British Joint Staff Mission and then Senior British Representative on the Combined Chiefs of Staff, played a significant role during World War II in the formation of the 'special relationship' between the United Kingdom and the United States. ...Dill served in Washington until his death from aplastic anaemia in November 1944. His funeral arrangements reflected the great professional and personal respect and affection that he had earned. A memorial service was held in Washington National Cathedral and the route of the cortege was lined by some thousands of troops, following which he was interred in Arlington National Cemetery, where a simple service was conducted at the graveside. A witness recorded that "I have never seen so many men so visibly shaken by sadness. Marshall's face was truly stricken ...He was sorely missed by the American Joint Chiefs of Staff, who sent a fulsome message of condolence to their British colleagues:
We feel we share equally with you the loss to our combined war effort resulting from the death of Field Marshal Sir John Dill. His character and wisdom, his selfless devotion to the allied cause, made his contribution to the combined British-American war effort of outstanding importance. It is not too much to say that probably no other individual was more responsible for the achievement of complete cooperation in the work of the Combined Chiefs of Staff.
... we have looked to him with complete confidence as a leader in our combined deliberations. He has been a personal friend of all of us ...We mourn with you the passing of a great and wise soldier, and a great gentleman. His task in this war has been well done. He was posthumously awarded an American Distinguished Service Medal in 1944 as well as receiving an unprecedented joint resolution of the United States Congress appreciating his services."
General Ulysses S. Grant: W Union Square, at the east end of the Mall (1922)
All hooves on ground; died in peace.
"With hard eyes beneath a slouch hat, Ulysses S. Grant sits on his mammoth steed, Cincinnati, in Henry Merwin Shrady's 1922 memorial to the general." December 23, 2007, Washington Post, quoted from an article by Paul Richard, "U.S. Grant's Steely Bronze" In this same article Grant's horse, Cincinnati, is described: "Cincinnati, his huge charger, stood 17 1/2 hands high. He was fast, too--Cincinnati got his speed from his sire, Lexington, who'd been the fastest four-miler in the country (7.195 minutes)."
"Grant" writes Jean Edward Smith, his distinguished biographer, "rarely permitted anyone to ride the horse, the exception being Lincoln, whom Grant considered an excellent horseman, and who rode Cincinnati whenever he visited the front." The article goes on to say that "The horse on the mall is listening, ears pricked, nostrils flared. His bronze is a portrait, too. Grant was a kind of a horse whisperer. 'If I can mount a horse,' he said, 'I can ride him.' In 1843, at West Point, astride York, an intractable chestnut-sorrel animal, Grant set a high jump record that lasted 25 years."
"Winfield Scott (June 13, 1786 - May 29, 1866) was a United States Army general, and unsuccessful presidential candidate of the Whig Party in 1852. Known as 'Old Fuss and Feathers' and the 'Grand Old Man of the Army,' he served on active duty as a general longer than any other man in American history, and many historians rate him the best American commander of his time. Over the course of his forty-seven-year career, he commanded forces in the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Black Hawk War, the Second Seminole War, and, briefly, the American Civil War, conceiving the Union strategy known as the Anaconda Plan that would be used to defeat the Confederacy. He served as Commanding General of the United States Army for twenty years, longer than any other holder of the office. ..."
The beautiful photograph of the horse head is Sheridan's horse, Rienzi. The horse's name was later changed to Winchester after Sheridan's victory in Virginia against the Confederates. The horse is stuffed and in the Smithsonian's American History Museum. Sheridan won the Battle of Chattanooga in 1863 and was given charge of the Army of the Potomac in 1864. After his raid on Richmond Sheridan became Commander of the Army of the Potomac. At the Battle of Appomattox Sheridan and Grant forced Robert E. Lee's surrender, thus, ending the Civil War. He then succeeded Sherman as Commander In Chief of the Army in 1884.
General Philip H. Sheridan's horse during most of the Civil War, Winchester was mounted and presented to the Smithsonian in 1923 by the Military Service Institution, Governor's Island, New York. The horse's name, originally "Rienzi," was changed to Winchester after carrying Sheridan on his famous ride from Winchester, Virginia to Cedar Creek, Virginia in time to rally his troops and turn almost-certain defeat into victory. Winchester can be seen in the Armed Forces History Hall at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, Behring Center.
Winchester was Union Army Gen. Philip Sheridan's mount during the Civil War. Originally named Rienzi, this black Morgan with three white stockings, was renamed Winchester for the town from which General Sheridan started his famous ride during the Battle of Cedar Creek. While attending a meeting, Sheridan learned that the Confederate Army had attacked and routed the union Army at Cedar Creek. Union losses had been significant that year and Sheridan feared that another loss might cost President Lincoln the election of 1864. So, he set out from Winchester to try to rally the retreating Union troops. Winchester and Sheridan galloped many miles that day, rallying the retreating Union Army, an effort which eventually won the battle and then the war.
Winchester is preserved and on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. My family visited this Christmas week (2009) and were quite surprised to see Winchester's size. He was quite large, especially for a Morgan. Although Winchester is encased in glass, which makes it difficult to get good pictures, below are some that my daughter took for my website (at my urging!) along with the accompanying signage: (I will try to get another picture of the signage, but the flash reflection is a problem. So temporarily this will remain.)
General William Tecumseh Sherman W (1820-1891): 15th and Pennsylvania and Treasury Place NW, near The White House (1903)
All hooves on ground; Sherman died in peace of pneumonia. Ulysses S. Grant appointed Sherman to a Major General in 1861. He commanded the Tennessee Army. His policy was one of scorched earth and he burned Atlanta during his March to the Sea. He wanted a quick end to the war. Sherman urged President Lincoln to consider the South's devastation, after Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox. The Reconstruction Congress had other ideas. President Grant made Sherman the Commanding General of the United States Army.
Major General George H. Thomas W
Thomas Circle, 14th and Massachusetts NW (1879). All hooves on ground; died in peace.
All hooves on ground; died in peace.
All hooves on ground; died in peace. This statue of John Welsley on his horse, in the District of Columbia is one of two that is not life size "...An equestrian statue of John Wesley, founder of Methodism, stands at the base of a hill. Recalling Wesley's part in the Methodist heritage which has its roots in Britain, this statue is an exact replica of one located in Wesley's Chapel in Bristol, England. It was dedicated in 1964. This statue is of particular note because of all the statues of people on horseback in Washington DC, all face the White House except for two. This statue of John Wesley and another of Francis Asbury, one of the first Methodist bishops in America, are the only two facing in other directions." The American University/Wesley Theological Seminary
General Simón Bolívar W 18th at C and Virginia NW (1959)
One hoof raised; died in peace of tuberculosis.
Major General Nathaneal Greene W Stanton Square, Maryland and Massachusetts NE (1877).
One hoof raised; died in peace, unwounded.
Image Posted on Flicker as Old Hickory/debaird
Two images above are ©HorseHints.org.
Major General Andrew Jackson: W Lafayette Park (1853)
Two hooves raised; died in peace.
Lt. General Thomas J. (Stonewall) Jackson: W Manassas (1940)
All hooves on ground; wounded by own men and died.
General Philip Kearny
Major General Philip Kearny W Arlington National Cemetery (1914)
One hoof raised; died in battle.
Video by Matt Ringelstetter
Lincoln and his horse, Old Bob or Old Robin, at President Lincoln's Cottage. Old Bob was the rider-less horse with the boots turned up-side-down. Ivan Schwartz was the artist responsible for this sculpture.
Lincoln's Hitching Post is located right outside of the New York Ave Presbyterian Church. This hitching post is where Lincoln would hitch his horses while he attended Mass.
Major General George B. McClellan W Connecticut Avenue and Columbia Road NW (1907).
One hoof raised; died in peace, unwounded.
BRIG. General Count Casimir Pulaski E 13th and Pennsylvania NW (1910)
One hoof raised; died in battle.
LT. General George Washington W Washington Circle, at 23rd and K and Pennsylvania and New Hampshire NW (1860).
One hoof raised; died in peace of cynache trachealis. This is an inflammation of the glottis, larynx, and upper trachea.
Below is a statue of Don Juan Carlos W. It is located at 23rd Street, NW and Virginia Avenue, NW at the Department of State.
The chisled stone tells why Don Juan Carlos is honored:
Library of Congress - Located at the Library of Congress is the Neptune Fountain.
For More Information: Library of Congress
Joan of Arc Statue
2400 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20008
Florida Ave. and 16th Streets, NW in the Meridean Park This link will give you information on a free cell phone tour: Cell Phone Tour of Meridian Park, et. al.
W Joan of Arc Statue is one of several statues in Meridian Hill Park. The park is an administrative unit of Rock Creek Park. The formal, 12-acre site includes unique statues, the largest cascading fountain in North America, concrete aggregate architecture, a U.S. presidential memorial, and the only horse statue with a female mount, Joan of Arc. The park was designed based off of an Italian aristocrat's private residence Meridian Hill Park was home to an early African American Seminary and a college that was to become George Washington University.
W Joan of Arc, by Paul Dubois, is the only equestrian statue of a woman in Washington, D.C. It is a statue that was first proposed in May 1916 by Mme Polifème to the Commission of Fine Arts in order to celebrate the friendship between France and the United States. During its creation, DuBois worked closely with the French Minister of Education and Fine Arts in producing a credible representation of the peasant girl. The statue was completed in 1922 in Paris; the original is located in Reims, France in front of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame. The replica in Washington was donated by Le Lyceum Société des Femmes de France to the women of the United States of America. On January 6, 1922, when the piece was dedicated, President Harding and the French Ambassador were the guests of honor. Mrs. Harding and Mme Jusserand, who represented France, also attended.
The United States Commission of Fine Arts suggested that the sculpture be placed at the terrace of Meridian Hill Park located in Washington, D.C. It was originally surveyed as part of the Smithsonian's Save Outdoor Sculpture! (SOS) survey in 1994. SOS is a joint project of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Heritage Preservation. Joan of Arc is a statue of a trotting horse with Joan of Arc riding. The statue sits on a three-tiered granite base (height 52 inches x width 11 feet) designed by W Harold Lenoir Davis and American novelist and poet. She looks skyward and is wearing a helmet. She holds the reins in her left hand. When the statue was created Joan of Arc held held a sword in her right hand. The sword was stolen in 1978 and finally replaced in December 2011.
Memorial Bridge in Washington DC W - Two different horse statues adorning the Memorial Bridge. One is called Sacrifice and the other Valor.
Pecos Bill W and his horse are also depicted below. They can be seen outside the National Portrait Gallery.
Billy Mitchell, Aviator
Mitchell Aviator Hat and Boots
Haseltine's gilded horse statue at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC.
"...In 1940 he was elected into the National Academy of Design as an Associate member and became a full Academician in 1946.
"Haseltine sculpted a variety of animals but is best known for his equestrian sculptures, most notably the 1934 life-size statue of the thoroughbred race horse Man o' War at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky and 'George Washington on Horseback', Gilded bronze statue at the Washington National Cathedral made in 1959. He also traveled to India, where he made an oversized statue of one of the ancestors of the Maharaja of Nawanagar, Jam Shri Rawalji in 1933. It can still be seen there. He replicated many of his large works in table-top sizes. The author of a number of books on animalier art, Haseltine was well connected in American upper class society and did a three-year project to create a work for heiress Barbara Hutton. This project included two horses heads which were gilded bronze, with precious and semi precious stones. After her death the heads disappeared and resurfaced a few years ago at an auction in New York." ... W
See Also: Haseltine
Reckless Horse Statue
Reckless War Horse aka Recoilless and Reckless Rifles
Reckless Statue at Quantico, VA unveiled
For More Information:Equestrian Statues in the United States