|Death: ||Jan., 1934|
El Paso County
El Paso’s most famous horse – a real champion of champions – lies buried on the edge of the old Seventh Cavalry polo field at Fort Bliss where he was buried with full military honors on Jan. 30, 1934.
He was Garry Owen – namesake of the famous horse of Civil War days after whom the song was named – and a jumper known internationally to horse lovers. Whenever there were big horse shows, at West Point, Fort Riley, Boston, Madison Square Garden – Gary Owen the big gray was always the glamour boy, biggest attraction of the show.
In 1927, after one of his many triumphs at Boston, a group of Hub City citizens tried to get the Government to sell him for $7000. El Paso and Fort Bliss fretted as the offer went through military channels, and there was much relief when the bid was refused with the flat statement that the Government doesn’t sell its prize horses and the big gray returned home.
The following year he scored his greatest triumph when he won 28 jumping and hunting events at the Madison Square Garden show in New York. By then he was so well known that hundreds of horsemen in the U.S. and foreign countries were writing the commanding officer at Fort Bliss to beg for Garry Owen’s old shoes and other mementos.
The gray was ridden to victory more than any animal in the history of the Army.
There is some question as to where Garry Owen was foaled. Newspaper record said he got his start in the Fort Bliss Remount Service. Major Gen. Terry Allen, Fort Bliss polo star back in the 20’s, said he thought the horse came from Virginia. Sgt. G.B. Lewis, now retired and living at 3622 Morehead Avenue, who trained the animal, said it was his understating that the horse was foaled in Missouri and bought by the Government.
He was an impressive mount as he went over the barriers, in perfect form as he stood 17 hands high and weighted 1350 pounds. Garry Owen was four years old when assigned to the Seventh Cavalry where he served until a mercy bullet brought an end to his career when he was 15 years old.
The great gray aristocrat of jumpers was the victim of a plater – and unknown Cavalry horse who had no business frolicking in the same pasture. He kicked Garry Owen in the leg, snapping the bone, and the entire Seventh cavalry mourned when veterinarians ordered the jumper shot.
Chief mourner was Sergeant Lewis, then of F Troop, who also had ridden the great horse to victory after victory. As they lowered Garry Owen into his grave, while the bugles sounded Taps, Sergeant Lewis said, “He was a gallant fellow and surely will be champion of the jumpers in horses’ heaven. I never expect to see his like again.”
Published in the El Paso Times, November 4, 1948
Specifically: Buried at the edge of the old 7th Cavalry polo field at the Fort Bliss Army Base which is now near the corner of Pleasonton and Pershing Avenues.
Created by: Desert Wind
Record added: Feb 27, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 48887728