History

Once Upon a Time, When Horses Jumped Rolls Royces

In 1913, there was no other place to be than at the Washington Horse Show in DC. How do I know this? Let’s go to the tape…

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Here, we have a horse jumping a Rolls Royce full of socialites who seem waaaay too nonchalant about what’s happening right in front of them.

These pictures are from the Library of Congress and the captions don’t offer much explanation. All we know is that’s a man named Ralph Coffin on the horse and the Rolls belongs to a chap named Sylvanus Stoke, because of course. Back story be damned, I think we have an idea exactly how this scene played out…

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Sylvanus: I say young chap, could you please direct me to—my, that is quite a stately warmblooded specimen you have there. Does he sport?

Ralph: Oh, sure. He runs, jumps, those kind of things.

Sylvanus: Well I’d love to see it in action. Tell me young man, and I hate to burden you at this moment, but we have prepared a lovely picnic with fresh fruits and salted meats but in our haste it appears we forgot to bring the dijon spread. You wouldn’t happen to have any—hey now, where are you going? Now, what is it that you are doing?! Dear God, he’s coming right at us! Are you mad?! This is a $2,000 automobile! POLICE!

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Fair Lady: Phyllis, are you watching this? There’s a man down there about to jump a Rolls Royce on his horse. It’s hard to see from here but I do not like the look of that bit. Nope, not one…bit.

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Old Chap 1: So, have you heard the one about the Russian and the penny farthing?

Old Chap 2: Not now Horace, there’s a man about to jump a Rolls Royce on a horse down there.

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Sidesaddler: Don’t mind me, just over here jumping sidesaddle, disproving centuries of misogynistic ideology. Does anyone care?!

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Mother: We have to hurry, your father is due to jump the automobile any minute.

Boy: But I want to get ice cream NOW.

Mother: You hush, boy.

Boy: Why am I dressed like a zookeeper?

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Horseman: Hold your horses! There’s a man about to jump over an automobile coming through.

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Sylvanus: Oh, very well, all clear. Splendid jump then, splendid jump.

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