THE MAN ON A TALL HORSE
I will not deny it George Washington has been an incredible hero in my mind since I was a little girl and as an adult it has not changed much.
I can always imagine him on top of his big horse sitting proud and tall and he was tall for the times he lived in. One of his favorite horses was a beautiful chestnut horse named Nelson who was 16 hands tall which given to him as a gift by Thomas Nelson in 1778 when the horse was fifteen. After the war, Nelson and the other gray horse named Blueskin Washington rode during the Revolutionary War were retired. Both served Washington well during the war and he was atop Nelson when the British surrendered at Yorktown and the surrender was signed. He had great affection for his horses, when he would go out to the pasture nelson would neigh and run up to the fence to be petted.
George Washington was considered one of the finest horseman in Virginia and he was said to be “able to ride without bearing on his bridle even over fences” which meant he could sit a horse well jumping a fence and not pulling the horses mouth unduly, thereby he was gentle on the bit with his hands. How you handle your horse and his mouth is as important as how you sit in the saddle. Too much pulling all the time, your horse will get stubborn and tough mouthed and thereby not very reliable.
But besides Washington’s horseman skills, the incredible job he took on in trying to take a ragtag bunch of men and turn them into soldiers especially without money and enough trained officers was a daunting task. He lost lots of the battles and yet kept trying and he was shot at and had numerous bullets come close, go through his cloak or hat and I believe even horses shot out from under him and yet he was unharmed, he was certainly not a small target as he was over 6’ tall and sat a tall horse. I truly believe that God had a plan for him and he was protected throughout the war.
Also, people forget one thing as well, to go against the King of England (and yes our country was under English rule) meant that people like George Washington were considered traitors or worse and if the war had gone the other way, as in if the English had won then people such as George Washington would not only have lost everything but would have been hung or shot as traitors to the crown. Many of the founders of the war who had money also invested not just time but a lot of their own resources into the war, some to the point where they went bankrupt later, they believed so strongly in the cause.
Of Course, Washington was a human too and he had his quirks. He expected straight honesty and certain rigid perfectionism from himself and others as well and when they could not deliver the same morals or honor he himself displayed he was a sight to behold if he felt wronged or cheated. Sometimes this was good and sometimes not so much. He was a complex but unique human who came to greatness, not so much because he sought it but because he was a leader and people saw that in him and
asked him to help and he stepped up to the challenges offered.
He is probably the only man alive who could have become a king but was actually reluctant to become the 1st president, he did no campaigning and he did not even put his name forward but people unanimously voted him into office, they were not even sure if he would accept. He had said “ He had no wish which aspires beyond the humble and happy lot of living and dying a private citizen” at his Mount Vernon home.But when asked to, he accepted and served two terms in office for a country which was a baby still and had many struggles and problems but he was also not shy about getting down to business and to work on the problems.
But besides his love of his country and his family, one of his big loves was his home in Virginia along the Potomac river called Mount Vernon. Even during the war, he would write to his steward and direct things and have some things remodeled or changed, always improving. He inherited this house and he loved it very much, and I was able to go to Mount Vernon this summer on the 3rd of July, the day before our country’s Independence day and see just a little of why George Washington loved his home.
To be continued…