Welcome to “Horses of Heroes”, a blog dedicated to exploring the incredible bond between humans and their equine companions. Throughout history, horses have played a vital role in human society, serving as transportation, companions, and even warriors in times of conflict.
This blog is particularly focused on the relationship between horses and heroes, highlighting the horses that have played important roles in the lives of legendary figures such as Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Joan of Arc, and many more. We’ll also examine the ways in which horses have been depicted in art, literature, and popular culture, and the impact they continue to have on our society today.
Whether you’re a seasoned equestrian or simply fascinated by the enduring connection between humans and horses, “Horses of Heroes” is the perfect place to dive deep into the world of equine history and culture. Join us on this journey as we explore the incredible stories of these magnificent animals and the heroes they have accompanied throughout history.
Bucephalus – owned by Alexander the Great
A famous horse of classical history, Bucephalus was the mount of Alexander the Great. The term “Bucephalus” comes from a branding mark that shows the head of an ox on his hindquarters.
Bucephalus is characterized as a huge beast with a huge head, a black coat, and a great white star on his brow. He was bred from the “greatest Thessalian strain,” and he is said to have had a blue eye as well.
Bucephalus was made available to King Philip II by a horse trader named Philonicus the Thessalian against a high price. Philip father of Alexander had no interest in trying to tame the beast because no one could. Given the chance, Alexander stunned everyone by controlling it. The horse’s anguish had been brought on by its ability to perceive its own shadow, so he comforted it and turned it toward the direction of the sun. Alexander managed to control the horse by letting go of his flapping cloak as well.
Sources claim that Bucephalus passed away at the age of thirty. However, other versions attribute the death to fatal wounds sustained during the Battle of the Hydaspes (June 326 BC), where Alexander’s forces defeated King Porus, rather than old age or exhaustion.
Alexander created the city of Bucephala in honor of his steed. It was situated on the western bank of river Jhelum in Pakistan. Bucephalus is supposedly interred outside of Jhelum in the contemporary town of Jalalpur Sharif.
Chetak – The Horse of Maharana Pratap
The horse that Maharana Pratap rode in the Battle of Haldighati, fought on June 18, 1576, in Haldighati in the Aravalli Mountains of Rajasthan, western India, was known in traditional literature as Chetak.
Chetak took Pratap safely away from the battle despite being injured, but he later passed away from his wounds. For centuries, Chetak is still living in the folklore of India.
Incitatus – owned by Caligula
Incitatus was a horse owned by the Roman Emperor Caligula. Although it is obvious from ancient records that this did not happen, Caligula had intended to appoint the horse as a consul.
The poem “Caligula” by Zbigniew Herbert is about Incitatus’ life. According to Robert Graves’ I, Claudius, Incitatus was appointed a senator and placed on the list to become a consul. Later, Claudius removed Incitatus’ government stipend and his status as senator because he didn’t meet the necessary financial requirements. Later, Incitatus was killed after breaking his leg during a race.
Marengo – owned by Napoleon Bonaparte
Marengo was a grey Arabian stallion owned by Napoleon Bonaparte. The horse was named after the Battle of Marengo, which was one of Napoleon’s greatest victories. Marengo was said to be a fearless and loyal mount, carrying
Napoleon into many battles, including the Battle of Waterloo. After Napoleon’s defeat, Marengo was captured by the British but was eventually returned to France, where he lived out the rest of his days.
In his career, Marengo suffered eight wounds. He fought for the Emperor in the battles of Austerlitz, Jena-Auerstedt, Wagram, and Waterloo. He was also commonly utilized for the 80-mile runs from Valladolid to Burgos, which he frequently finished in five hours.
Napoleon I of France’s renowned military horse was named Marengo and lived from roughly 1793 to 1831. After the Battle of Abukir in 1799, when he was six years old, he was imported to France from Egypt and given the name Marengo after the battle in which he successfully carried his rider. Marengo is an Arabian breed that most likely originated at the renowned El Naseri stud.
Copenhagen – owned by King George III
Copenhagen was a thoroughbred owned by King George III of England. He was known for his speed and strength, and he carried George III into many battles, including the Battle of Waterloo.
During the battle, Copenhagen was injured, but he continued to carry the king until the end. After the battle, Copenhagen retired from active service and lived out the rest of his days in the royal stables.
Copenhagen was of mixed Thoroughbred and Arabian ancestry. The name Copenhagen, which honors the British victory at the Second Battle of Copenhagen, was given to the foal in 1808.
After the battle, the Duke kept riding Copenhagen in parades and other formal occasions. The horse was retired to the Duke’s Stratfield Saye House and spent the remainder of his long life there as a pensioner.