The American President And His White House Hobby Horse

Author Eliza McGraw has unearthed an interesting horse tale about Calvin Cooolidge, a former Massachusetts governor who served as president of the United States from 1923-29.

Writing in the Washington Post, McGraw – author of the Dr. Tony Ryan Award-winning book “Here Comes Exterminator!: The Longshot Horse, the Great War, and the Making of an American Hero” – tells the story of how Coolidge rode a mechanical horse three times a day to let off steam and get some exercise after the Secret Service grounded him from riding real horses. The horse was kept in the president’s dressing room in the White House.

“The White House horse was the brainchild of health — and breakfast cereal — innovator John Harvey Kellogg, who designed the model that was ridden by Coolidge and other fitness-minded folks,” McGraw writes.

President Coolidge was grounded by the Secret Service from riding real horses

Nicknamed “Thunderbolt,” the electricity-powered horse resembled a barrel and was operated by pushbutton, with varied gaits from trots to gallops. However, its presence in the White House was short-lived, McGraw writes, after Coolidge became the subject of derision from critics, including a Kentucky Congressman who wrote a satirical poem about Coolidge – nicknamed Silent Cal – and his “hobby horse.”

The mechanical horse now resides at the Calvin Coolidge Library and Museum in Northampton, Mass.

The horse was a forerunner, McGraw writes, for the Equicizer horse developed by retired jockey Frankie Lovato that many professional jockeys now use for exercise.

Read more at Washington Post

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