Blueskin is, allegedly, the gray or white horse seen in paintings of Washington mounted on a horse As mentioned in a previous post, Washington had a preference for white and gray horses, so it is not surprising that he would choose one to ride during the war. Unfortunately, there are no contemporary paintings or sketches of Blueskin and those paintings of Washington on a white horse were painted well after his death. Also, unfortunately for Washington, Blueskin was skittish under fire and became hard to control. Therefore, he rode another horse when he went into battle.
|Rembrandt Peale 1830|
We do not know what breed of horse Blueskin was but the belief is that he was half-Arabian, sired by the stallion "Ranger", otherwise known as "Lindsey's Arabian". I was unable to find any evidence to corroborate that belief. "Lindsay's Arabian" is a legendary American sire, pure Arabian, with a fascinating history. Legend has it that the Emperor of Morocco gave a pure Arabian stallion to the Captain of a British Frigate for some unknown service to the Emperor's son. The Frigate Captain planned to take him to England where he expected to sell him for a hefty price. For some reason, the frigate called at one of the ports in the West Indies. The Frigate Captain, wanting to give the horse some exercise, let him run loose in a lumber yard where the horse broke three of his legs. At the same time, there was, in harbor, a ship's captain from New England who was a friend of the Frigate Captain. Faced with a horse with three broken legs, the frigate captain offered the horse to his New England friend if he could cure him. The New Englander accepted the offer and put the horse aboard his vessel. He rigged up sling and carefully set and bound the horse's legs. When the ship reached Connecticut, the horse's legs had been mended and he was put to covering mares.
It is believed that Lindsey's Arabian reached Connecticut in 1766. He was described as a "white horse of the most perfect form and symmetry, rather above 15 hands high, and gallant temper, which gave him a lofty and commanding carriage and appearance."
|Light Horse Harry Lee|
"Nelson"was a chestnut stallion who was given to Washington by Thomas Nelson, the Governor of Virginia in 1778, when Nelson heard that Washington was having trouble finding a replacement foe one of his mounts. Nelson soon became a favorite of Washington and he rode him when battle was nigh, In fact, Washington rode Nelson at Cornwallis' surrender at Yorktown in 1781. Nelson was described as being sixteen hands high, chestnut ( or light sorrel) , with a white blaze and white legs.
After the war, Washington retired Blueskin and Nelson to Mount Vernon where he hardly ever rode them but tried to pay them a visit every day. Nelson died at the age of 27.
But we know, for certain, that Washington did own a stallion out of "Lindsey's
The horse at right is said by Mount Vernon to resemble Magnolia, except for the fact that he is a little smaller then Magnolia at 15 hands.
I cannot conclude without mentioning Washington's slave valet William "Billy" Lee. Billy rode a horse called Chinkling. Other than being described as a great leaper and being built much like his rider, low, but sturdy, and of great bone and muscle,we have no other description of Chinkling. But we do have a description of Billy Lee, a French horn at his back, throwing himself at full length on his horse, with his spur in flank, rushing at full speed through bramble and brush, astonishing even the best and most daring horsemen of his day.