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Famous Military & War Horses in History

Updated on August 27, 2012

Famous War Horses

Before tanks and jeeps, men rode horses into battle. Some have become legends like Bucephalus and his master, Alexander the Great.

These famous war horses came in all different types of breeds. Some were Arabians, some were wild Mustangs and some were thoroughbreds.

From Medieval knights to Samurai swordsmen, men have been using horses for shock, using devastating quick strikes and flanking methods to demoralize the enemy.

Native Americans used them, learning from the white man. They've been used in cavalry, the most famous was the Civil War. There were many civil war horses that died for our country. In some parts of the world, they're still used today.

This is a list of the most famous war horse breeds and popular war horses throughout history.

War Horse: A History of the Military Horse and Rider

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Bucephalus

He was a giant black stallion that would accept no man for his master. He was brought before a king who took one look at him and told his men to kill him. A voice from the watching crowd echoed out “No.” Thus began a friendship that would span the world.

Babieca

Babieca means “Stupid.” This was what Rodrigo Diaz de Bivar heard his godfather exclaim when the boy picked a sickly white foal from a herd of fine horses. Yet the white horse and his master became legends echoed down through time.

Cincinnati Grant

Grant was an avid horseman that loved horses and knew how to handle them well. Often he'd pick the largest and wildest mount to ride, when other men trembled, never daring to face such a beast.

This fame lead him to be granted a present by a man who would never ride again.

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Comanche

He was a Morgan/Mustang mix that lived the Little Big Horn. How did he live through this battle isn't known. For the generation who lived at the time, this horse attained the fame that Elvis would in later generations.

Incitatus

He was a favored horse of a Roman Emperor, Caligula. In Latin his name meant “swift” or “at full gallop.” His stories would often be spread by his master's own humorous quips that acted like a stick taken to a hornet's nest with his political enemies.

Little Sorrel

Little Sorrel was an even-tempered horse that was small for the standard war horse. This small equine was quick thinking and intelligent. He knew whom he could trust and who not to. He learned how to overcome his fear of the loud noises that the guns made with the help of his master, Col. Thomas J. Jackson.

Marengo

Napoleon preferred the small Arabian to the tall and high spirited thoroughbred. Thoroughbreds represented the upper elite's horses. Arabians were small, gentle and spirited, He preferred all the horses he rode to be whitish gray and gentle. He rode them wherever he went.

Nelson

George Washington had a deep love for all animals as God's creatures. Once he found a lost dog that belong to a redcoat officer and returned him. He rode Nelson, a white horse, throughout his battle campaigns.

Traveller Lee

Jeff Davis was Traveller's 1st name. He was raised by Andrew Johnson. He was an iron gray Saddle bred. He belong to Robert E. Lee.

If you have a horse-crazy girl, read my article on Horse Bedding for Girls.

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    Ghost32 6 years ago

    As a young Montanan who was "ranch raised and rodeo bred", my first thought on seeing your title was, "Did Bucephalus get mentioned?". Yep! First one out of the gate! Hooray for you!

    A comment on Comanche: Many history books state that Comanche was the "only survivor" (on the U.S. Army side), but that's wildly inaccurate. A group of cavalrymen with Reno made it through as well. They'd fought their way upslope to a spot where they more or less dug in, using their fallen mounts as protection from the Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho warriors.