President Theodore Roosevelt was a sickly child. However, instead of allowing his asthma and other ailments to hold him back, he pushed himself by pursuing outdoor activities. Thus his great love of horses began and this love stayed with him for a lifetime. Roosevelt owned many horses throughout his life and during his time in the White House, his stables remained full. One horse among many was Rusty.
Although this horse and his stable companions lived long ago, we can find mention of them via Roosevelt’s papers. He often discussed his various horses in letters to various people.
Rusty was mentioned briefly to son Kermit in a letter dated June 12th, 1904. In this case, Roosevelt sketched a little image of himself jumping Rusty. Rusty was mentioned one other time in Roosevelt’s saved papers; also in 1904 where Roosevelt tells his daughter Ethel that he “hasn’t heard a word from the two new horses,” and that “if there had been any marked improvement in either of them I should have heard.”
He goes on to say that these horses would be suitable if he were 20 years younger, but “at present I do not want a horse with which I have an interesting circus experience whenever we meet an automobile, or one which I cannot get to go in any particular direction without devoting an hour or two to the job…it looks as if old Rusty would be good enough for me for some time to come.”
Rusty appears to have been steadier around automobiles than his companions, who are often mentioned in letters as being nervous or “standing on their hind legs” around autos and trains. He is mentioned a bit earlier than some of the other horses, such as Renown or Roswell, so we can speculate that Rusty was a bit older and likely better trained. Rusty’s fate remains unknown post-Presidency, but it is likely he remained with the President or was found a good home in which to retire.