Have you ever heard the poem, “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere”? Paul and his faithful horse warned the soldiers in the first colonies to take up arms against their enemies. Other famous riders were the first mail delivery people known as the Pony Express riders. There were close to a hundred of these mail carriers on horseback and they brought letters across the country through the rain, the snow, and the dark of night. Would you like to deliver mail using a horse?
START with this letter in Missouri and see how quickl y you can deliver it to the END in Cali fornia!
What am I?
The first part of my name might be right on the tip of your tongue or the outside of your mouth. I love to travel all over the world showing off my skills as a jumper and performer. Like a chameleon, I change color over time. What am I?
Riding to Win
When you first learned how to ride a bike, what did you think about? Probably, you concentrated on just being able to stay on your bike so it wouldn't throw you to the ground. Then you possibly thought about how much farther you could go on your bike rather than walking. The first horse riders had those same feelings.
Many years ago, a king's battles were fought by foot soldiers, but they could travel only a few miles. After people had tamed the horse and mastered riding it, they felt they could conquer the world! The movie Ben-Hur shows the Romans using horse-drawn chariots to fight their battles. Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, Napoleon, and many other rulers rode their famous horses, which allowed them to control countries and continents that they never could have reached before.
If you want to keep track of the animals you see on a trip, you can make your own wildlife bingo cards before you start on your way. You might want to add other things like a train, tunnels, and state capitals.
The Wild West
People used to call the West wild back in the days when millions of buffalo and herds of horses used to roam it. Some say the earth shook when the buffalo started to stampede! Today a few of the parks in the West still raise buffalo herds and the park staff will sometimes let visitors watch them being round up in the fall the same way they do with cattle. If you are able to take a vacation to a park, you might be lucky enough to see a buffalo, an elk, a moose, a horse, or other wild animals.
A man called Buffalo Bill Cody used to shoot the buffalo for food for the men who were building the railroad. Eventually, he bought a ranch and developed a Wild West show that traveled all over North America and parts of Europe. The show even included outlaws on horses, which were part of what made the West so wild! These outlaws were known for riding horses while they were holding up trains, stagecoaches, and banks. Some of these horses could be ridden for a hundred miles in a day, which made it easy for the outlaws to make their escape. The performers in the show had to practice shooting all of the time. If you want to do a little Wild West shooting practice of your own, how about shooting a few empty soda cans or paper cups off of a fence with a water pistol?
All over the world you will find horse statues; most towns or parks have at least one. When you travel you can look for these statues and have your friends do the same thing. See if you and your friends can mark where you found these statues on a map of the country. Each of you should put the first letter of your name by each town. Once the summer is over, total up the number of each person's letters. The winner should get a prize!
Famous generals often have famous horses. One of the most famous horses in the civil war was Traveller, who was a gray horse ridden by General Robert E. Lee. Have your parents ever taken you to see the battle sites in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania? There are statues of generals on their horses everywhere. Some people believe that however many hooves the horse's statue has on the ground tells whether the general who was riding the horse was hurt or killed in the battle. Many times, a horse with an empty saddle will be used in a funeral parade for a general or president to indicate that the leader is gone.