A Horseman

I couldn’t think of a single contemporary “hook” for use of this photograph, but I like it so much I just had to put it up. This is my grandfather, Travis Reid, in a picture taken in Jonesboro, Arkansas. From his appearance and its placement in the album, I believe this was taken in the winter of 1921-22, when he was 21.My grandfather loved horses and boats and fishing. Though he was born in 1900, he always kept a very 19th century mind-set. My father (his son-in-law) still jokes that air-conditioning and the outboard motor on his fishing boat were the only 20th century inventions that Mr. Reid really approved of.He was a fine man and I was lucky to spend a lot of time with him. He taught me how to fish, gave me my first canoeing lessons, would always toss a baseball, and patiently answered my myriad questions. He took me on trips to the Ozarks. We went fishing at his favorite spots in the lowlands west of Crowley’s Ridge: Cache River and Portia and Shirey Bays, horseshoe lakes on the Black River. One quirk: he never used my name when he talked to me. It was never “Reid”, but always “Grandson” or “Old Boy”. In the 27 years we shared I never even thought to ask why.You can tell from this picture that Travis Reid was a sharp-dressed man. Look at that raffish cap and the hacking jacket. And dig those boots!

12 thoughts on “A Horseman”

  1. Well I have to comment! It’s almost obligatory isn’t it?

    I do admire the horse; lovely hindquarters, very lean, and incredible long legs. He’s very fit!

    It appears that your grandfather is riding with a pelham bit, which has two sets of reins coming off it. I’ve never ridden one, and I imagine it’s very difficult.

    And you know I dig those boots!!!!

  2. It’s funny that you always tell people that Lauren got her horse genes from me. I guess you just admitted it really runs on both sides of the family!

  3. My first thought was also to admire the horse and the equipment. The horse is very TALL! And with this kind of saddle, there’s no horn to grab to lever oneself up. There must be a horse-mounting block around there somewhere.

    Prairie Mary

  4. I lived in Jonesboro, AR 2004-2005. You have any other pictures of the area from that era. Would be interesting to see how it has changed.

    Matt

  5. Heidi
    Don’t know about that bit. Maybe Connie can tell us more about it. IIRC Lauren may have used one like that.

    Connie
    Yes, I admitted it! I want to get this printed on photo paper and framed for Lauren.

    Mary
    You’re right, that is a tall horse. For scale, my grandfather was 6 ft tall. Connie estimated that this horse is between 16 & 17 hands.

    Steve asked in an e-mail if this was a gaited horse. Connie believes it’s likely a Tennessee Walker or an American Saddlebred. Probably too tall for a Morgan or a Foxtrotter

    Matt
    My family has lived in the Jonesboro area since the 1840s and my father and sister live there now. My family mostly owned drug stores in the area. I have found that access to wholesale film, cameras, and developing made them all into enthusiastic photographers. We have albums and albums and boxes of pictures that cover most of the 20th century. Stay tuned and I can put some up from time to time. I did two posts last year that have historic Jonesboro pix, one shows my grandfather as a little boy. They are here:

    http://stephenbodio.blogspot.com/2005/10/iola-reid-rip_25.html

    http://stephenbodio.blogspot.com/2005/12/nash-reid-hill-house.html

  6. Reid

    Your grandfather used the very English term of endearment – “Old Boy”, (which I still use!!), regularly, without thinking , when addressing friends, so I imagine he had contact with some very English friends in his day !

    JohnnyUK

  7. I’m with Connie on the breed and height. Definitely not a Morgan (which i learned to rid on) or a foxtrotter (which I briefly owned)– both are shorter and the Morgans were “hell for stout” as well.

  8. With regard to the tack in the photo, the bit is indeed a Pelham.

    “A pelham is a type of curb bit. It consists of a mouthpiece, a shank, a curb chain, 2 rein rings per side on the shank, and one cheekpiece ring on the top of the shank. The top rein ring is located next to the mouthpiece, as in a snaffle, and the rein that attaches to it is thus called the snaffle rein. The lower ring, at the bottom of the shank, is called the curb rein due to its curb action.

    Due to the severity of the curb in relation to a snaffle, it should not be used by novice riders. Double reins are also more complicated for a novice to handle. The pelham should be ridden mainly off the snaffle rein, with the curb rein only coming into effect when needed. Oftentimes, a bit converter is used so a pelham can be used with only one rein. This is especially helpful in the cross-country phase of eventing, so that when the reins are slipped only one must be shortened. If used with two reins, the snaffle rein should be wider to help distinguish it from the curb.”

    Hope that helps Heidi.

    Our daughter is quite an accomplished horsewoman in her own right, starting her equestrian career formally at the age of 6. She first rode with a Pelham at the age of 10 or so. I remember it being somewhat like a rite of passage because it requires a soft hand and good deal of experience to use effectively. I am sure that at some point we will have grandchildren who are horse crazy too.

    The saddle Reid’s grandpa is riding in looks like a saddle seat saddle, which is used on gaited horses.

  9. very intersting foto , the horse is certainly a warmblood , an early thoroughbred cross and your grandfather certainly new how to ride and handle horses. THE DOUBLE BIT was common in Europe during that era and the users were only the very experienced riders. It is intreresting he rides ''forward'' the Caprilli system, which revolutionized horsemanship during this period.

  10. very intersting foto , the horse is certainly a warmblood , an early thoroughbred cross and your grandfather certainly new how to ride and handle horses. THE DOUBLE BIT was common in Europe during that era and the users were only the very experienced riders. It is intreresting he rides ''forward'' the Caprilli system, which revolutionized horsemanship during this period.

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