Macaroni: The Kennedys’ pony in White House, 1962-1963

macaroni pony white houseThe Kennedys had many pets during their time at the White House including several dogs, a cat, one canary, two parakeets, hamsters, a rabbit named Zsa Zsa, and a pony named Macaroni.

Macaroni, a 10-year-old part-Shetland gelding, was given to young Caroline Kennedy as a gift from Lyndon B. Johnson.

The pony was occasionally brought to the White House from its stables at Glen Ora, the Kennedy estate in Virginia horse country, and is featured in iconic photographs of the Kennedy family at the White House.

Tourists would often spot Caroline and her friends taking turns going for rides. If there was snow on the ground, a sleigh might be attached to Macaroni.

Macaroni made for good entertainment for visiting dignitaries. In 1962, while Caroline’s mother, Jackie Kennedy, was giving a tour of the grounds to the Empress of Iran, the pony nuzzled Queen Farah in an apparent attempt to eat the daffodils she was carrying right out of her hand. “He’s going to eat you, your majesty,” Jackie Kennedy reportedly joked.

The brown and white pony had a stylish and impressive wardrobe. For example, King Hassan II of Morocco presented a Moroccan saddle as a gift for Caroline during his state visit in March 1963.

macaroni pony white house

Caroline Kennedy sits astride Macaroni on the South Lawn of the White House.

Amid wide public fascination, Caroline and Macaroni appeared together on the cover of the Sept. 7, 1962 issue of LIFE Magazine. The picture inspired the well-loved song “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond.

The singer-songwriter kept the story to himself for years, but he got the chance to tell Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg his secret when he performed the song via satellite for her 50th birthday party in 2007.

Diamond told the Associated Press that he was a “young, broke songwriter” when the photo caught his eye. “It was a picture of a little girl dressed to the nines in her riding gear, next to her pony. It was such an innocent, wonderful picture; I immediately felt there was a song in there.”

macaroni pony white house

Secret Service agent Bob Foster leads Caroline Kennedy on a ride with Macaroni.

macaroni pony white house

macaroni pony white house

macaroni pony white house

Macaroni accepts a treat while grazing the South Lawn.

macaroni pony white house

Caroline Kennedy rides Macaroni while an unidentified boy rides Tex.

macaroni pony white house

President John F. Kennedy adjusts Caroline’s saddle.

macaroni pony white house

macaroni pony white house

macaroni pony white house

President Kennedy, John Jr. and Caroline play with Macaroni and Tex.

macaroni pony white house

macaroni pony white house

macaroni pony white house

Government employee Helen Milson feeds sugar to Macaroni on the South Lawn.

macaroni pony white house

During a weekend at Camp David, Caroline and Macaroni test out a new saddle given to the family by King Hassan II of Morocco.

macaroni pony white house

macaroni pony white house

macaroni pony white house

(Photo credit: JFK Presidential Library and Museum / White House / Presidential Pet Museum).