heroes who risked their lives in devotion to the
nation have long been attractive presidential
candidates. The image of a uniformed officer on
a warhorse was a powerful symbol of leadership
and executive ability. Presidents depicted in
equestrian art include military heroes such as
George Washington, Andrew Jackson, William Henry
Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Franklin Pierce, Ulysses
S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield,
and Benjamin Harrison. Warhorses like Taylor’s
Old Whitey and Grant’s Egypt and Cincinnati
enjoyed honored retirement at the White House.
With the invention of photography and the popularity
of illustrated magazines and newspapers in the
late nineteenth century, images of the presidents
posed on horseback became a staple for photojournalists.
Pictures of the chief executive and their families
on horseback became a familiar subject for posed
photographs. President and first ladies regularly
rode horses for exercise and relaxation in public
both in the city parks of Washington, D.C., and
on vacation. This practice changed after World
War II transformed security procedures.