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Caesar Rodney's horse

At long last, thanks to the U.S. Mint, we now know what breed Caesar Rodney's horse was!

It was a "Quarter" horse, of course! ;o)

Delaware quarter

United States Mint image.

(Seriously, a friendly visitor by the name of Tom provided me with the following information:
Word has it that the first leg of his trip for the ride to Independence was on a Draft MULE from his family farm choosen for its stamina and comfortable ride -- they have a smoother gate than any horse -- and named "Thunder." It was said to be a Belgian mix draft mule and was nearly all black in color. He had to change rides in Odessa [which was known as "Cantwell's Bridge" at that time] and then again in New Castle. He had to change rides early in the ride because a mule has the smarts and self preservation of life of a donkey and will not let itself be ridden into the ground, unlike a horse that will run itself to death at the hands of the rider. It is said that in New Castle he got a black stallion which is a forerunner of the Tennessee Walker.)

After the "Heroic Horsemen.. and Women" column was printed, my friend Ken Lundgren sent me this poem about Caesar Rodney's ride that Ken's grandmother used to recite. -- Thanks, Ken!

Delegate Rodney's ride
Author Unknown

In that soft mid-land where the breezes bear
The North and South on the genial air,
Through the county of Kent on affairs of State,
Rode Caesar Rodney, the delegate.

Burley and big, and bold and bluff,
In his three-cornered hat and coat of snuff,
A foe to King George and the English State,
Was Caesar Rodney, the delegate.

Into Dover village he rode apace,
And his kinsfolk knew from his anxious face,
It was matter grave that brought him there,
To the counties three upon the Delaware.

"Money and men we must have," he said,
"Or the Congress fails and our cause is dead,
Give us both and the King shall not work his will,
We are men, since the battle of Bunker Hill."

Comes a rider swift on a panting bay;
"Ho, Rodney, ho! you must save the day,
For the Congress halts at a deed so great,
And your voice alone may decide its fate."

Answered Rodney then; "I will ride with speed;
It is Liberty's stress; it is Freedom's need."
"When stands it?" "To-night." "not a moment to spare,
But ride like the wind from Delaware."

"Ho, saddle the black! I've but half a day,
And the Congress sits eighty miles away
But I'll be in time, if God grants me grace,
To shake my fist in King George's face."

He is up; he is off! and the black horse flies
On the northward road ere the "God-speed" dies,
It is gallop and spur, as the leagues they clear,
And the Clustering mile-stones move a-rear.

It is two of the clock; and the fleet hoofs fling
The Fieldsboro dust with a clang and a cling,
It is three; and he gallops with slack rein where
The road winds down to the Delaware.

Four; and he spurs into New Castle town,
From his panting steed he gets him down
"A fresh one quick! and not a moment's wait!"
And off speeds Rodney, the delegate.

It is five; and the beams of the western sun
Tinge the spires of Wilmington, gold and dun;
Six; and the dust of Chester street
Flies back in a cloud from his courser's feet.

It is seven; the horse-boat, broad of beam,
At the Schuylkill ferry crawls over the stream
And at seven fifteen by the Rittenhouse clock,
He flings his rein to the tavern jock.

The Congress is met; the debate's begun,
And Liberty lags for the vote of one
When into the hall, not a moment late,
Walks Caesar Rodney, the delegate.

Not a moment late! and that half day's ride
Forwards the world with a mighty stride;
For the act was passed; ere the midnight stroke
O'er the Quaker City its echoes woke.

At Tyranny's feet was the gauntlet flung;
"We are free!" all the bells through the colonies rung,
And the sons of the free may recall with pride,
The day of Delegate Rodney's ride.

Kentucky quarter

United States Mint image.

In the case of the Kentucky quarter, we do know the breed that is pictured --

It's a Thoroughbred race horse.

Nevada quarter

United States Mint image.

The Nevada quarter portrays a trio of mustangs.

Wyoming quarter

United States Mint image.

...And the Wyoming quarter bears the state's trademark image of the famous bucking horse, "Steamboat."

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Animated running horse

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