The cramped and dusty riding hall of West Point Military Academy was an unlikely setting for a high jump record. Most of the cadets dreaded going there. The academy horses were notoriously hard, the saddles even harder and the riding instructor’s tone was harsh and mocking. Yet on a pleasant May morning in 1843, a slender cadet on a large chestnut horse called York cleared a hurdle over six feet high in front of a small crowd. Although the spectators must have been impressed by the feat of skill and bravery they had witnessed, few could have predicted the remarkable career that lay ahead for the rider. For the giant leap had been about the only achievement at the academy that made Ulysses Grant stand out from his peers.
Ulysses Grant, the highest-ranking general of the American Civil War and 18th President of the United States, was a surprisingly reluctant soldier and an even more reluctant president. But he was always an enthusiastic horseman. Rich with anecdote, humour and humanity, From Cincinnati to the Colorado Ranger tells of the extraordinary collection of horses that inhabited Grant's world. From the placid plough horses of his youth to the brave war chargers that "carried the destiny of the nation on their backs". From the pampered trotters of the Gilded Age to the exotic stallions whose blood enriched a new breed of American horse. The story of these horses more than illuminates the life and culture of a great American.