This President’s fondness for horses was legendary. An avid horseman all his life, Theodore Roosevelt usually had a stable full of equines. While some were more widely reported on than others, Roosevelt’s love of his horses usually means that we can find a snippet or two about almost all that passed through his life.
Lucky for us, Wyoming is one of the horses that stands out a bit from his brethren.
This horse was gifted to President Roosevelt by the citizens of Douglas, Wyoming on June 1st, 1903– hence his name. In a letter expressing gratitude to the citizens of Cheyenne, who gifted the President with a saddle and bridle, and Douglas, who gifted the horse, Roosevelt states that he is “going to take the liberty of re-christening the horse “Wyoming” to commemorate this state.”
Of Wyoming (the horse) Roosevelt goes on to say that he has never been on “so easy-gaited a horse who could keep that gait at so good a speed over fairly rough ground. It is like sitting in a rockingchair to ride him; and yet he has good speed and he is tough and hardy.” In remarks to the citizens after viewing a rodeo-type event, Roosevelt acknowledged the skill of the horsemen who performed, but said he preferred the horse given him as he liked his horse to “do things horizontally rather than vertically.”
On June 13th, 1903 Roosevelt wrote a letter to Senator Frances E. Warren, stating that Wyoming had arrived, was a “perfect beauty”, and that he and his wife were very pleased with the horse.
However, like others in the stable, Wyoming had issues with autos and trains. In a letter to Henry Cabot Lodge dated June 25th, 1903, Roosevelt mentions that he has been riding Wyoming, but that the horse takes “too vivid an interest in trolleys and automobiles – not to mention railroad trains – for me to desire to see Edith upon him.”
To be fair to Wyoming and his stable-mates, automobiles and trains were scary things. It was common to see horses react fearfully to the sight, sounds, and smells of the man-made machines. Like so many of the other horses, not much is known about what ultimately happened with Wyoming. He appeared to be much-loved and appreciated by Roosevelt however, so it is likely he was retired with the President.