The Strange, Centuries-Old Tradition of Stuffing Horses

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A wax figure at Mount Vernon, showing George Washington riding Blueskin. Edward Blake/CC BY 2.0Many a hunter has taken one of their big catches—a 12-point buck, for example, or maybe a moose—to a taxidermist, but not so long ago, you may have also considered taking a different animal: your beloved, recently-deceased horse. 
Stuffed horses might not be as common as they used to be (many a general saw their war horses fit for stuffing), yet you can still find them, living on in perpetuity in a collector’s home or perched in a museum, staring at you, waiting to be stared back at. 
Take movie cowboy Roy Rogers, who had both his horse Trigger, who died in 1965, and Dale Evans’ horse Buttermilk, stuffed for display. Trigger was positioned rearing, the way he used to with Rogers aboard, his front legs gently pawing the air. Buttermilk was mounted in a more serene pose, with all four hooves on the ground. When the Roy Rogers museum in Branson, Missouri, closed, the horse sold at auction for $266,000, USA Today reported. The high bidder was Patrick Gottsch, who owns the cable channel RFD-TV. He bought …


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