As an avid horseman, George Washington maintained a stable of fine, well-kept horses. They provided transportation, pulled carriages, worked in the fields and wheat treading barn, and were even used for recreation.

Washington also enjoyed fox hunting on the Estate and had a pack of hounds specifically for this purpose. He owned an Arabian stallion named Magnolia who raced in Alexandria. Nelson and Blueskin were two of George Washington’s favorite horses and carried him during the Revolutionary War.



Throughout George Washington's life, whether engaged in battle or observing his farms, he was frequently in the company of a horse. The excellence and confidence with which Washington rode was derived from a combination of practice and natural ability.

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Equestrian at War

Equestrian at War

Equestrian prowess and warfare offered young George Washington his clearest path to fame. His long rides as a surveyor, through the forest on foxhunts, and his bayonet drills in the heat of the summer sun prepared him well for his eventual martial feats on horseback.

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Of the many horses that Washington owned, one of his favorites was a horse he called "Nelson," who is said to have "carried the General almost always during the war [American Revolution]."

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During his time as president, Washington owned two white chargers, Prescott and Jackson. His step-grandson, George Washington Parke Custis, described Prescott as “a fine parade horse, purely white, and sixteen hands high.”

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"the best horseman of his age, and the most graceful figure that could be seen on horseback."

Thomas Jefferson to Dr. Walter Jones, January 2, 1814

How Many Horses Did George Washington Have?

George Washington was a renowned horseback rider. Livestock handler Damara Gailliot recounts the recorded number of horses the first president owned at different points in his life.

Horses at Mount Vernon Today

Today, we have draft horses that pull wagons, plow, and harrow the fields.

Four of our draft horses are Shires, a breed developed in England that is critically endangered. Our smaller horses work in the 16-sided wheat treading barn from July to October, demonstrating how wheat kernels were separated from the stalk.

meet the animals of mount vernon
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