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Ronald Reagan — The Great Communicator — Shares His Love of Horses with a Little Girl Who Wants One
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Horses have been a large part of my life and I love them as much as you do…. Being a father myself I know how very much your father would like to be able to help you realize your dream but sometimes we have to wait for the good things. If it will help to know this I didn’t have a horse of my own until after I was grown up. You’ll do better than that so keep on riding & studying….

RONALD REAGAN. Autograph Letter Signed with Initials, to Carol ?, ca. 1967-1975. 2 pp., 6 x 9 in.

Inventory #24844       Price: $2,200

Complete Transcript

Dear Carol

            I certainly can understand how you feel. Horses have been a large part of my life and I love them as much as you do. But your father has brought up a very important point. They can’t be stored away in a garage like a bike until you feel like going for a ride and there is an ongoing expense day in & day out. Unfortunately we have had to sell our ranch so I cant be of help in the way you suggested.

            But let me make some other suggestions. First of all not owning a horse needn’t keep you from riding and learning about horses. As a matter of fact in the cavalry (which is where I learned to ride) you weren’t assigned a single horse of you own until you’d learn to ride on many different horses—a different one every day.

            You have many years ahead of you to enjoy riding & to have your own horse. Indeed you’ll know too the sorrow of saying goodby because we do outlive <2> our horses. Now and for the next few years why don’t you go to a stable—(you probably ride at one now). Ride many horses, learn to know their differences & learn all you can about their care. Then when you are a few years older you might discover you can have a horse of your own and you’ll know better the exact kind of horse you want. At that time you can very probably make an arrangement with some one or some stable so that you can board or pasture your horse in return for helping with theirs. You’ll know enough about the care of horses so that you’ll have something to offer.

            Being a father myself I know how very much your father would like to be able to help you realize your dream but sometimes we have to wait for the good things. If it will help to know this I didn’t have a horse of my own until after I was grown up. You’ll do better than that so keep on riding & studying.

                                                                        Kindly,

                                                                        RR

Historical Background

Likely written while he was governor of California, this letter from Ronald Reagan consoles a girl whose father has refused to allow her to get a horse. With an understanding tone, Reagan points out the practical reasons for not owning a horse at that time, and then assures his young friend that she will own a horse someday. Reagan concludes his letter by reminding her that fathers only want what is best for their children.

Clearly, the “Great Communicator” had already developed an effective public relations approach well before becoming president. Reagan showcases his highly attuned communication skills by relating to Carol personally about their mutual love of horses. His fiscal conservatism, a hallmark of Reagan’s later presidency, comes through in his comments about the expenses of owning a horse, as does his belief in the importance of voluntarism, when he advises Carol to learn about horses by working at a stable.

Reagan also references his time in the cavalry. In 1935, he enrolled in a series of Army Extension Courses completed at home. In 1937, he enlisted in the Army Reserve as a Private in Troop B, 322nd Cavalry at Des Moines, Iowa. A month later, he was appointed a second lieutenant in the Officers Reserve Corps. Later that year, he moved to Los Angeles to begin his film career, and he accepted his Officer’s Commission in the 323rd Cavalry. He was called to active duty in April 1942, but poor eyesight left him fit for limited service. He later transferred to the Army Air Forces, where he made public relations and training films.

Ronald Reagan (1911-2004) was born in Illinois and graduated from Eureka College in 1932. After working as a radio announcer for several years, he took a screen test in 1937 that led to a contract with Warner Brothers Studios. Reagan ran for governor of California and defeated two-term incumbent Pat Brown. Late in 1966, he sold 236 acres of his Yearling Row ranch to Twentieth Century-Fox Studios to help pay debts from his campaign, but he continued to keep horses and make short visits to the ranch. As governor, he cut welfare and favored deregulation. Despite an unsuccessful recall attempt in 1968, Reagan was reelected in 1970. He did not run again for governor in 1974, but in 1976 narrowly lost the Republican nomination for the presidency to incumbent Gerald Ford. In 1980, Reagan was elected the 40th President (1981-1989).

Condition

Fine to very fine


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