These tidbits are vignettes from McHenry County's past which show that the horse has always been an integral part of the county's culture.   Horses were the mounts of the police and postal workers.   Horses pulled the fire trucks, pulled the farmers' milk to the dairy and pulled the beer from the brewery.   Here are some of their stories.   Information was obtained from the McHenry County Historical Society's archives.

*  Trout Valley's Hertz Estate included a stable for the 1928 Kentucky Derby winner Reigh Count.   He beat 21 other horses to take the first leg of the Triple Crown.  Reigh Count was owned and raced by Fannie Hertz out of Leona Stock Farm.  After his racing career ended, Reigh Count sired a Kentucky Derby winner (Count Fleet in '43) who then sired a third generation of Kentucky Derby winners -- Count Turf in '51.  The Hertz family owned other racehorses, bred horses and played polo.   Today the polo field is used for soccer.  
*  A race between a pony and a mule was staged on September 12, 1901.   The Richmond Gazette reported that both animals bolted off the track, and had to be started a second time.   The mule refused to finish the race, so the pony was declared the winner.                                                          
*   In The Harvard Herald on December 9, 1899 it was reported that local resident Geo. Palmer would apply for a patent on a special two-part horse shoe which he had designed.

*  On January 17, 1902 a notice to Marengo horse owners was posted in the paper by the City Marshall warning that teams hitched on the streets left standing for more than 3 or 4 hours would be taken to the barns, and the owners would be charged boarding fees.   The Marshall stated "Be merciful to your horses.   They are your very best friends."

*   The first recorded death in McHenry Township was that of William Herrick.   He was apparently crossing an iced-over Fox River on horseback when the horse fell through the ice.  His death was caused by the accidental discharge of his rifle when the accident occured.
*  In 1837 a tavern license was purchased from the county for $8.  The license specified that when a customer stayed overnight and stabled his horses at the tavern, he could be charged no more than 25 cents for a nights' hay.

*  In 1872 the Driving Park Association was formed in Marengo.   The association built a mile long track with an ampitheater that held 1000 spectators and had 90 box stalls for horse racing.  The enterprise was discontinued in about 1890.

*  In 1900, according to official tabulations, there were 17,000 horses in the county.