Theodore Roosevelt’s Little Texas
Great war horses are measured not in hands but in heroism. Described as a "pony" by historians, the chestnut gelding named Little Texas by his rider, future U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, will always stand tall in national memory as the horse who bravely led the charge of the First U.S. Volunteer Cavalry in one of the fiercest battles of the 1898 Spanish American War: the Battle of San Juan Hill.
The little chestnut cowpony with white socks and a tiny star was one of two mounts (the larger, named Rain-in-the-Face) procured for then-Colonel Roosevelt by one of his Quartermasters while the regiment trained in Texas at Fort Sam Houston. Much of the regiment, better known as the Rough Riders, were former cowboys, but on the morning of July 1, when deployed for dual charges up Kettle and San Juan Hills, the only one astride was Roosevelt on Little Texas. The regiment's other horses had been left behind because military transport ships were in short supply, leaving it up to one horse that hot summer's day to carry his rider back and forth between rifle pits at the forefront of the advance. When all gunfire had ceased, a quarter of the U.S. troops had lost their lives, but the survivors, including their four-legged soldier, Little Texas, had won San Juan Hill.
|Little Texas' Breyer model|
The victory was a turning point towards peace, and after the war, Roosevelt brought Little Texas back to the family's Sagamore Hill estate on New York's Oyster Bay Cove in Long Island where he lived out his days as playmate to the five Roosevelt children. In 1903, Little Texas was buried at the family estate where he was loved, remembered on his headstone as a "faithful friend" and in America's heart as a true horse hero.
To learn more about Breyer's Traditional portrait model of Little Texas and to purchase, please click here.