A visit with Bonnets o’ Blue and Mariner, dam and brother to Fashion, Spring 1844

“I availed myself a few weeks since of a long standing invitation from Wm. Gibbons, Esq. of New Jersey, to visit his superb estate and breeding stud, and if the things I saw there are looked upon with the same interest by others that they were by myself, a short account of them may not prove unacceptable to the readers of the Spirit of the Times.

This estate comprises about 600 acres, lying in one solid body, and is beautifully situated in the town of Madison, 25 miles west of this city, and can be approached in two hours by the Morristown Rail-road.

Mariner is exceedingly blood-like in appearance, and deserving of a minute description. He is 15 hands high, and in form a complete Arabian.

His head is handsome, with small ears, broad forehead, eyes like a deer, and large open nostril; mane and neck fine, the latter beautifully arched; chest full and deep; back short and strong; body well ribbed up, long under the belly, and round like a barrel; quarters in proportion to those of an English cart-horse, full, round, and superbly developed; tail well set on, and when moving, carried with a graceful curve; hind legs straight, fine, and muscular; the joints of the fore legs very strong, and short from the knee down; the pasterns shorter and stronger than is usual with racers; and the hoof clear, tough, and open.

His color is of the very best kind, and denotes endurance, being brown with a tanned muzzle. His action either in walking, trotting, or galloping, very fine; and as for game and endurance, few could ever run with him – his twelfth mile usually being his best.

Added to all this his temper is pretty good, and he is easily kept. Mr. Gibbons thinks very highly of this horse, and is now breeding to him almost exclusively. We wish for the sake of the country, that a dozen good roomy roadster mares could be put to him in order to test the produce for farm and carriage horses; we are persuaded the stock would be all that could be desired; what a splendid cross he would make on Canadian mares.

The pedigree of Mariner is of the most fashionable character, all his family having been celebrated for great bottom, strength and speed.

Of the mares, the celebrated Bonnets o’ Blue is the Queen of the Harem. She is 16 years old, but still hale and hearty. She stands 15 hands 3 inches high; is fine in her form, (especially in the shoulder), of great substance, and certainly one of the best made animals I ever looked at.

Her color is light grey, and she has a superb horse colt at her foot by Shadow, and is now stinted to John Blount, standing this season at the Union Course, Long Island. She looks young enough to give birth to half a dozen more ‘flyers’ before shuffling off this mortal coil.”

(Written by the editor of the American Agriculturalist for publication in the New York Spirit of the Times (Vol. XIV, No. 10), 05/04/1844)

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