• Attention Young Riders (of all ages...)!

    At Hardwood Creek Farm in Hugo, MN, we work with young riders at all skill levels from beginning riders to riders training for regional and national competition. At our horse farm, you'll find a community of horse enthusiasts of every age. Our youth group offers riders a valuable opportunity to meet each other, work together on the Horsemastership Achievement Program (run by the American Morgan Horse Association), learn horse care, judging skills, and practice ridership skills with fun activities including barrel racing and horse soccer.


Saddlebred Horses in the Civil War

Because they were the most commonly used breed in the military by the middle of the 19th century, saddlebreds distinguished themselvers in their service to generals and officers on both sides of the Civil War. The two most famous saddlebreds were Ulysses S. Grant's Cincinnati and Robert E. Lee's Traveller

Cincinnati (ca. 1860 – 1878) was the son of Lexington, the fastest four-mile thoroughbred in the United States (time 7:19.75 minutes) and of the greatest sires. Cincinnati was also the grandson of the great Boston, who sired Lexington.

Grant excelled in horsemanship at West Point, and at graduation, he put on an outstanding jumping display. Grant owned many horses in his lifetime, including one named Jeff Davis, so named because he acquired it during his Vicksburg Campaign from Jefferson Davis's Mississippi plantation.

Cincinnati was a gift from an admirer during the War. The horse was large (17 hands), handsome, and powerful, and he quickly became Grant's favorite. When Grant rode Cincinnati to negotiate Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House, the animal became immortalized. Virtually all depictions of Grant in drawings, granite, and bronze, are astride Cincinnati, including at the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial, located on the Mall in Washington, D.C., at the base of Capitol Hill.


Robert E. Lee's favorite horse was Traveller, who was of the Gray Eagle stock, and, as a colt, took the first prize at fairs in 1859 and 1860. As an adult gelding, he was a strong horse, 16 hands high and 1,100 pounds (500 kg), iron gray in color with black points, a long mane and flowing tail.

In a letter, Lee described Traveller like this:

"If I was an artist like you, I would draw a true picture of Traveller; representing his fine proportions, muscular figure, deep chest, short back, strong haunches, flat legs, small head, broad forehead, delicate ears, quick eye, small feet, and black mane and tail. Such a picture would inspire a poet, whose genius could then depict his worth, and describe his endurance of toil, hunger, thirst, heat and cold; and the dangers and suffering through which he has passed. He could dilate upon his sagacity and affection, and his invariable response to every wish of his rider. He might even imagine his thoughts through the long night-marches and days of the battle through which he has passed."