Equestrian Statue Code Cracked

You’ve all heard this theory some time of another.

“They” — yes, the famous “they” — say that if you look at a statue of a historical figure mounted on a horse, the positioning of the horse’s legs shows how the person died.

So let’s take a look at a couple of statues of historic leaders.

Andrew Jackson

Statue Number 1

Andrew Jackson

Photo by Brent and MariLynn/Flickr

Yes, that statue looks familiar because it’s another version of the one in Layfayette Park in Washington, DC. You see it in some movies set in Washington, especially with the front portico of the White House behind it. This one is on the east side of the Tennessee state capitol.

Anyway,  Jackson’s horse is rearing. So, both front legs are up. What does that tell us about how the former President and general died?

Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc

Photo by NCinDC/Flickr

This is the only equestrian statue with a woman “in the irons” in statue-laden Washington, DC. It’s in Rock Creek Park.

Here, the horse has one front foot up.  A hind foot is cocked.

So, how did Joan die?

Waitaminute — which hoof up means what? What does rearing mean? What does one leg up mean? Feed a cold, starve a fever? Had enough yet?

Yeah, me too. Let’s get to the answers.

After years of service as a general and a US President, Andrew Jackson died at his home The Hermitage at the age of 78 due to complications from tuberculosis.

Joan of Arc, a young French general who was later declared a saint, was burned at the stake by her British captors when she was 19.

So, let’s get to the bottom of the horse’s legs theory, once and for all.

According to Snopes, the positioning of the horse’s hooves offers no, nein, zip information about the life of the rider on his back.

So, there you have it. It’s another example that “they” – as in, the famous “they” – don’t have all the answers after all.

Snopes does.

All photos in this post are from Flickr through the Creative Commons license

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