carriages of the presidents
Before the twentieth century the president’s vehicles were not armored-plated or specially built. Their carriages were similar to those of citizens of wealth. Often they were gifts from admirers. George Washington had the most elaborate turn out of the presidents for state occasions, sporting a cream-colored carriage drawn by six matched horses “all brilliantly caparisoned.” Coachmen and footmen wore livery trimmed with white and brilliant red-orange that Washington had selected long before for his racing silks.

President Franklin Pierce preferred an informal coach and often rode through Washington in an “unpretentious one-horse shay.” Chester A. Arthur was far more conspicuous in his stylish dark green landau. It was drawn by two perfectly matched mahogany bays with flowing manes and tails. The harness was mounted with silver, and had dark green kersey dress blankets ornamented with the president’s monogram.

Grover Cleveland and Mrs. Cleveland kept five matched brown horses in the White House stable for their carriages. Their favorite was the open landau that was taken out for drives in the Rock Creek valley and the surrounding hills of Washington. Andrew Johnson, James A. Garfield and William McKinley also greatly enjoyed such relaxing excursions with their wives and families. Ulysses S. Grant and Rutherford B. Hayes were the most avid enthusiasts of driving as a sport. No matter what the purpose, the president’s style always was on display in carriages, equipage and livery.


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exhibit navigation
white house horses - intro V - carriages of the presidents VI - presidents on horseback VII - working horses at the white house VIII - the ceremonial role of horses II - the executive stables III - the theodore roosevelt family IV - presidents at the races IX - equestrian sports and leisure pursuits white house horses - intro V - carriages of the presidents VI - presidents on horseback VII - working horses at the white house VIII - the ceremonial role of horses II - the executive stables III - the theodore roosevelt family IV - presidents at the races IX - equestrian sports and leisure pursuits white house horses - intro V - carriages of the presidents VI - presidents on horseback VII - working horses at the white house VIII - the ceremonial role of horses II - the executive stables III - the theodore roosevelt family IV - presidents at the races IX - equestrian sports and leisure pursuits white house horses - intro V - carriages of the presidents VI - presidents on horseback VII - working horses at the white house VIII - the ceremonial role of horses II - the executive stables III - the theodore roosevelt family IV - presidents at the races IX - equestrian sports and leisure pursuits white house horses - intro V - carriages of the presidents VI - presidents on horseback VII - working horses at the white house VIII - the ceremonial role of horses II - the executive stables III - the theodore roosevelt family IV - presidents at the races IX - equestrian sports and leisure pursuits