Lubber, the World’s Largest Horse

“Lubber, Biggest of Horses, is Dead,” said the Norfolk Press on June 9, 1927, headlining an obituary for an animal exhibited throughout Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Mississippi as the largest horse in the world. At 21 hands high and 3,120 pounds in weight, Lubber certainly looked the part.

Born in 1921, “Lubber was raised at Red Bird, in Holt County, where men and women grow big, are big and have big vision as well as big live stock and big farms,” said the Press. “His dam was percheron and broncho crossed, and his sire was cross bred Belgium [Belgian] and Shire.

“His parents were just medium sized. Lubber was just an ordinary sized colt at birth. Tim Preece, Mayor of Battle Creek, saw him at Spencer and wanted to buy him but his owner boosted the price when Mr. Preece indicated he wanted the animal.

“Later A. E. Ponton and sons of Battle Creek bought him in 1925, when he was four years old. They put him on exhibition and he was shown throughout eastern Nebraska and western Iowa. The second season the Savidge Amusement company took him out and took him through western Nebraska and South Dakota.

“This season the Pontons contracted with Dodson World Fair show to travel through Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Mississippi. Lubber had been on the circuit since May 1st. He died at Rock Island, Illinois.” Veterinarians reported that Lubber had died of pneumonia.

The Press said: “Lubber stood 21 hands high and was 3120 pounds in weight. He was just a six-year-old. And his conformation was pronounced almost perfect. He had the action of a polo pony. Many thousands had seen him and learned to love the big, friendly almost human animal.”

The Battle Creek Enterprise also published a death notice for Lubber, who had become something of a local icon: “The loss of the animal falls heavily on the Pontons. Lubber was valued at $10,000 and his estimated earning capacity this year was placed at between $15,000 and $20,000. The horse was insured for $5,000 but the policy expired a few days after he was taken sick and his condition was such that the company would not renew the policy at the time.”

Lubber, reputed to be the world’s largest horse. NSHS RG2408.PH:2

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