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

During his time in the White House, Kennedy owned several dogs, a cat, a canary, two parrots, hamsters, a rabbit named Zsa Zsa, and a pony named Macaroni.

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

The pony was occasionally brought into the White House from its stables at Glen Ora, the Kennedy Estate in Virginia Horse Country, and has been featured in iconic photographs of the Kennedy family at the White House.

Tourists often see Caroline and her friends going for a ride. If there was snow on the ground, a sleigh might be attached to the macaroni.

Macaroni is made for good entertainment for visiting dignitaries. In 1962, when Caroline's mother, Jackie Kennedy, was visiting the Queen of Iran on the grounds, the pony pounced on Queen Farah in an apparent attempt to eat the daffodils she was carrying from her hand. Jackie Kennedy reportedly joked, "He's going to eat you, Your Majesty."

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

Amidst widespread public outcry, Caroline and Macaroni appeared together on the cover of the September 7, 1962 issue of LIFE magazine. The picture inspired Neil Diamond's popular song "Sweet Caroline".

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

Diamond told the Associated Press that he was a "young, broken 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. What an innocent, wonderful picture it was; I immediately thought there was a song out there."

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