This Blog is dedicated to the Noble and Great horses in our lives and throughout history. Visit the land of the unicorns in Behind The Mist, the horse lover's fantasy for pre-teens to adults.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

MARENGO - Tiny mount of Napoleon

In Behind the Mist, Book One of The Mist Trilogy, the reader learns that the Noble and Great horses in their life and throughout history are selected to become unicorns in the after-life. This blog is dedicated to those wonderful horses!
Famous Painting of Napoleon and Marengo by Jacques Louis David

 Marengo was the tiny mount of the once most powerful man in Europe: Napoleon I. He was born in approximately 1793 and was named after the Battle of Marengo through which he purportedly safely carried his rider. Marengo was imported to France in 1799 as a 6 year old. He was a gray Arabian, probably from the famous stud farm, El Naseri. Napoleon much prefered the little arabs to the more commonly popular thoroughbreds. Marengo was only 14.1 hands but was reliable and couragous.

Napoleon was not a trained nor a skilled equestrian. He would bounce around in the saddle so much that he would wear holes in the seat of his breeches. Yet, he loved riding, both out of necessity and for pleasure.

Marango was just one of many horses that carried Napoleon into and out of battle and was injured eight times. Napoleon had a stable of 52 horses (or 80 depending upon the source.) The name "Marengo" is not found on any of his registries. Marengo is believed to be a nickname for his favorite horse, Ali. Napoleon even gave his wife a nickname so this is believable.

Anyway, back to Marengo. The little gray arab was one of the horses that escaped from the Russians in 1812 but he was captured in 1815 at the Battle of Waterloo by William Henry Francis Petre. Petre took the stallion to the United Kingdom and Ireland and sold him to General Angerstein when the horse was 27. He was not successful in his intended career as a stud. He died at the age of 38, Arabs are known for living a long time but this is remarkable! His skeleton, minus 2 hooves, is on display at the National Army Museum in London. The skin was set aside for Taxidermy but was lost along with one hoof. One hoof was made into a snuff box and still holds a place of honor at St. James Palace in London. Yes, that is kind of gross!

The fame of the Napoleon Family horses goes on and this time in the U.S! Deep in the bowels of the tiny Heritage Hall museum in Marion, Ohio, are the stuffed remains of Prince Imperial, Napoleon's horse. Not THE Napoleon, but his nephew, Napoleon III. Oddly enough, the guy named his son and his horse the same name. That's my kind of guy! This horse ended up in Ohio when he was purchased by a local breeder and brought to the U.S. from France in 1869. The man paid the enormous sum of $3,000 for the horse and made much more than that by exhibiting the horse. He was billed as "The Greatest Living Curiosity of This or Any Other Age." Why? Because the horse actually had a forelock that extended seven feet in length and a mane that was nine feet, ten inches in length. It was kept in braids and the braids had to be looped! When the horse died, he was stuffed and put on wheels and pulled in parades. Now that is a weird but true story. This horse definitely deserves his unicorn horn!

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