Lexington in Fayette County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)
Will Harbut and Man o' War
“It was love at first sight. The groom and the horse took to each other immediately, and they became inseparable friends for the rest of their lives.
“The famous horse's popularity brought visitors flocking to Faraway Farm. Will Harbut was a genial man with an inborn flair for promoting. Man o' War was a ham who delighted in being promoted. Between them they built up an act that delighted them and everybody who came to visit. Will vowed that Big Red could understand every word he spoke, and, when you saw the two in action, you could believe it.
“Will would escort groups of visitors around the barns, introducing them to the other distinguished horse on the farm. And he would show them the huge bell that was rung whenever one
“Big Red would pose outrageously while this was going on, lifting his noble profile and visibly enjoying the oohs and ahs of the admiring assembly. It was a wonderful show.”
The relationship flourished for 17 years. Then, Will Harbut died suddenly in the fall of 1847. Man o' War, his bouts of colic at last becoming too much for him to take, died less than a month later. The first horse in American history to be embalmed, he lay in state at the center of his stud barn in a casket lined with Riddle's black and gold silks. At the funeral, hundreds of prominent people from the horse world listened to eulogies in his memory.
One of these by Ira Drymon sums up best what people remember about Man o' War: “Almost from the beginning, Man o' War touched the imagination of men, and they saw different things in him. But one thing they will all remember is that he brought an exaltation to their hearts.”
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Animals. A significant historical year for this entry is 1930.
Location. 38° 8.931′ N, 84° 31.23′ W. Marker is in Lexington, Kentucky, in Fayette County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Iron Works Parkway and Iron Works Pike. Marker is at the Man o' War gravesite and memorial in Kentucky Horse Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 4089 Iron Works Pkwy, Lexington KY 40511, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Years at Stud (a few steps from this marker); Descendants in Man o' War's Memorial Gravesite (a few steps from this marker); Isaac Burns Murphy (a few steps from this marker); The Race He Lost (a few steps from this marker); African Americans in Racing (a few steps from this marker); The Mostest Hoss (a few steps from this marker); The Two-Year-Old (a few steps from this marker); Getting Ready (a few steps from this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lexington.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker.
Credits. This page was last revised on July 30, 2022. It was originally submitted on July 30, 2022, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 178 times since then and 29 times this year. Photo 1. submitted on July 30, 2022, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
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