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The Fascinating History Of Taxidermied Horses

Phar Lap/Wikimedia Commons

When my friend and fellow horse-loving writer Eliza McGraw mentioned she was writing a piece about taxidermied horses for the website Atlas Obscura, I was more fascinated than grossed out. I immediately informed her that she must not forget to include Blue, the horse immortalized in a large-scale diorama in the education center at the George Washington’s Mount Vernon, one of my favorite places to visit, especially around the holidays.

Of course, Eliza had already thought of that.

In fact, that horse was the inspiration for her story. She likes to visit Mount Vernon, too. A trip there started her thinking about stuffed horses. “Blueskin was one of Washington’s favorite horses,” she explains, mentioning that the other horse he rode through the Revolutionary War was named Nelson. She wondered about the real horse that had come to represent Blueskin in the diorama and found out he had been a workhorse in Pennsylvania.

“That led me to wonder about other stuffed horses,” Eliza says. “There are so many, it turns out.” You can check out her fascinating story here.

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Kitson Jazynka

A freelance writer and children’s author based in Washington, D.C., Kitson Jazynka contributes regularly to Horse Illustrated. Her horses enjoy the good life in nearby Potomac, Md.

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