BlackJack: The Riderless Horse

BlackJack Horse Saddles proudly bears the name BlackJack after the famous military horse BlackJack.  We honor all those who have served to protect our freedom and our liberty.  BlackJack is a symbol of their service and a reminder of their sacrifice.


BlackJack: The Riderless Horse

Black Jack was a horse of incredible courage and service, known for his unwavering commitment to his duty. His story, like many of the horses who served in the military, is one of loyalty, sacrifice, and bravery. But what makes Black Jack's story unique is that he also served as a symbol of honor and respect, as the riderless horse at countless military funerals.

Black Jack's journey began in 1947, when he was foaled in the United States Army's Remount Service. He was a sturdy and dependable horse, with a calm and steady demeanor that made him an ideal choice for military service. Black Jack was initially trained as a packhorse and then later as a riding horse. His handlers quickly recognized his potential and he was soon transferred to the United States Army Caisson Platoon, the unit responsible for providing funeral honors at Arlington National Cemetery.  The picture below was taken at the  Washington D.C. White House Drive on November 25 1963.


Black Jack's duties as a caisson horse were not easy. He would pull the caisson, a wagon that carried the casket of the deceased, through the winding roads of the cemetery. The caisson was a solemn and dignified mode of transport, and Black Jack had to maintain his composure at all times, even as he was surrounded by mourners and the sounds of taps. Despite the weight of his responsibilities, Black Jack always remained calm and steadfast, earning the respect and admiration of all who saw him.


But it was Black Jack's role as the riderless horse that made him a legend. The riderless horse is a tradition that dates back to ancient times, when a warrior's horse would be led behind his coffin as a symbol of his final journey. In modern times, the riderless horse is a powerful symbol of the fallen soldier, representing the soldier who will ride no more.

Black Jack served as the riderless horse at countless funerals, including that of President John F. Kennedy. In 1963, Black Jack was draped in a black saddle blanket with Kennedy's initials embroidered in gold. His boots were reversed in the stirrups, a tradition that dates back to the Napoleonic Wars. As Black Jack walked solemnly behind the caisson, his dignified and stoic presence captured the attention of the world. He was a symbol of respect, not just for Kennedy, but for all who had served their country.  The picture below is Mrs. Kennedy in Virginia in 1968.


Black Jack retired in 1973, after more than 20 years of service to the military. He lived out the remainder of his days on a farm in Maryland. Today, Black Jack's legacy lives on, not just as a symbol of the fallen soldier, but as a testament to the incredible courage and dedication of all the horses who have served in the military.

In conclusion, Black Jack was not just a horse, but a symbol of the ultimate sacrifice made by those who have served their country. His legacy will always be remembered as a true embodiment of duty, honor, and respect. The riderless horse tradition will continue to be carried out with the same reverence and solemnity as Black Jack did for so many years. Black Jack was a true American hero, and his story will always be an inspiration.

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