Tag Archives: Horses

The Battle of Little Bighorn

Visitors climb the path to Last Stand Hill where marble headstones mark where members of the United States 7th Cavalry fell in the Battle of the Little Bighorn, including that of Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer.


When I started studies at the University of Kansas in Lawrence in the Dyche Museum of Natural History, I saw the preserved body of Comanche, a horse that survived the battle at the Little Bighorn despite grave injuries. I became fascinated with this beautiful horse and his history, especially when I learned that the horse lived for a time at Fort Meade, near Sturgis, South Dakota, where my father grew up. Comanche spent a lot of time at forts in Kansas, my home state, before his final spot in Dyche Museum.

The Battle of Little Bighorn in Montana (June 25–26, 1876) has been depicted widely in paintings, books and movies from many viewpoints.  Visiting the battlefield adds much more to the story as you travel over the rolling hills of grass, reading how the battle occurred.  My husband and I have visited this battlefield twice.  Horses graze in the pastures there, bringing to mind the many horses who tragically were involved in the battle.

Seventh Cavalry Horse Cemetery Memorial at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Memorial, Montana.

My first memory of learning about the battle happened when I was a Girl Scout tour guide in the late 1960s at the open-air museum Cowtown.  I saw a painting depicting “Custer’s Last Stand”  in one of the buildings in Cowtown, an “Old West” museum with more than 50 historic and re-created buildings, in Wichita, Kansas.

In 1970, when I started studies at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, the popular movie “Little Big Man” debuted.  Based on a novel by Thomas Berger,  “Little Big Man” depicted scenes from the Battle of the Little Bighorn, known as the Battle of the Greasy Grass by Native Americans. There is too much to write about Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer and his U.S. Army 7th Cavalry fatal encounter with the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho Native Americans, but I’ll add some links at the bottom of this post.

About the Battle of the Little Bighorn (from Wikipedia)

A marker shows where Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer fell on Last Stand Hill at the Little Bighorn Battlefield Monument in Montana.




The horse Comanche, photographed in 1887. Comanche survived the Battle of the Little Bighorn. He is one of only four horses in United States history to be given a military funeral with full military honors. His preserved body is now on display at Dyche Museum of Natural History at the University of Kansas.

Indian Memorial Sculpture, Little Bighorn, Montana Poster

Indian Memorial Sculpture, Little Bighorn Battlefield National Memorial, Montana.

Custer National Cemetery, and the History of National Cemeteries.


I hate that animals are forced into the battles among humans.
Comanche, the horse that survived the Battle of the Little Bighorn (Wikipedia).

Comanche, the horse that survived the Battle of Little Bighorn.

Custer’s Last Stand Suicide Myth.

THE 7TH CAVALRY HORSE CEMETERY (Little Big Horn). A very interesting history lesson.

Once sung by descendants of the 7th Cavalry, Irish air “Garrymore” will no longer cause pain for Native Americans.


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My Horse Won!

My best was on "Mine That Bird," winner of the 135th Kenturcky Derby on May 2.

My bet was on "Mine That Bird," winner of the 135th Kentucky Derby on May 2. It was the second biggest upset in Derby history.

I’d never heard of “Mine That Bird” until my husband pulled his name out of a hat at a Kentucky Derby party today.   “Mine That Bird” was a 50-1 shot.   (I’d never heard of any of the other horses, either…)

“There goes the ten dollars we threw in the pot” was my thought when I looked at the odds.  It was fun, though, to watch all of the hoopla, the big hats, the race horses being led, the jockey parade, then one by one the jockeys popping onto the horses and then sauntering to the gates. The mint juleps we were drinking added to the glow.

imageSuddenly, the horses burst out of the gate.    My horse wasn’t a front runner,  I couldn’t pick him out of the pack (herd?) on the track, I assumed he was the last one, and I had no idea Number Eight was the horse that was racing ahead until he crossed the finish line. 

“That’s my horse, that’s my horse,” I yelled.  No one else was all that excited, because they all had losing horses. (Losers!)  They did agree it was certainly one of the most interesting Derbys they’d ever watched, and they watch the Derby every year. (I confess that I usually miss it, but I might be hooked now!)  It was fascinating to watch the race from a shot overhead afterward.  It showed “Mine That Bird” moving steadily and rapidly through the horse crowd along the rail until it broke through and took off.  (See video below.)Derby bet

According to the Associated Press story by Beth Harris, “Sent off at 50-1 odds, Mine That Bird pulled away in the stretch to score a 6 3/4 -length victory at Churchill Downs, the second-biggest upset in Derby history.  His margin was the largest since Assault won by eight lengths in 1946.

The gelding ran 1 miles on a sloppy dirt track in 2:02.66 and paid $103.20 to win—second-largest payout in Derby history behind Donerail ($184.90) in 1913.”

Calvin Borel, the Louisiana jockey who rode Mine That Bird to victory, won the Derby in 2007, using the same strategyof racing his mount along the rail, which is why he’s called Calvin Bo-rail.

 The last bet I made was on “Sunny’s Halo,” who won the Kentucky Derby in 1983, so I’ve been a lucky but very sporadic horse racing gambler.  Both Derby wins had nothing to do with skill, but were totally luck.  Now, let me check my Powerball ticket!



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