Jesse, Our Gentle Giant, Passes

JesseThe horse stalls at Kidwell Farm are empty for the first time in over 30 years. Jesse, a Percheron draft horse, passed away this past Sunday morning at the age of 35. Frying Pan Farm Park has been the home for draft horses for over three decades, until yesterday. The pastures, paddocks, and horse stalls were no longer filled with the gentle giants.

Michael and JessieJesse was a part of the beloved duo known by thousands as Jesse and Michael and could always be found pulling wagon rides and other antique farm equipment for demonstration purposes. When not working, they would be grazing in pastures with the other farm animals, or standing in their stalls waiting for the next child to be helped up by their parent to reach Jesse or Michael’s face and gently caress them.   Michael passed away two years ago, and Jesse remained one of the farm’s most popular attractions.

Jessie and friendsFrying Pan Farm Park’s Kidwell Farm is full of many other farm animals that are visited by hundreds of people daily, but the farm will look a bit vacant for right now without Jesse. Jesse was a wonderful part of Kidwell Farm and will be missed.


Author Todd Brown is the Operations Branch Manager in the Fairfax County Park Authority’s Resource Management Division and a former site manager of Frying Pan Farm Park.


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About Fairfax County Park Authority

About Fairfax County Park Authority HISTORY: On December 6, 1950, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors created the Fairfax County Park Authority. The Park Authority was authorized to make decisions concerning land acquisition, park development and operations in Fairfax County, Virginia. To date, 13 park bond referenda have been approved between 1959 and 2016. Today, the Park Authority has 427 parks on more than 23,000 acres of land. We offer 325 miles of trails, our most popular amenity. FACILITIES: The Park system is the primary public mechanism in Fairfax County for the preservation of environmentally sensitive land and resources, areas of historic significance and the provision of recreational facilities and services including: • Nine indoor RECenters with swimming pools, fitness rooms, gyms and class spaces. Cub Run features an indoor water park and on-site naturalist • Eight golf courses from par-3 to championship level, four driving ranges including the new state-of-the-art heated, covered range at Burke Lake Golf Center • Five nature and visitor centers. Also nine Off-Leash Dog Activity areas • Three lakefront parks including Lake Fairfax, Lake Accotink and Burke Lake, with campgrounds at Burke Lake and Lake Fairfax. The Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole at Lake Fairfax, Our Special Harbor Sprayground at Lee as well as an indoor water park at Cub Run RECenter • Clemyjontri Park, a fully accessible playground in Great Falls featuring two acres of family friendly fun and a carousel, as well as Chessie’s Big Backyard and a carousel at the Family Recreation Area at Lee District Park • An ice skating rink at Mount Vernon RECenter and the Skate Park in Wakefield Park adjacent to Audrey Moore RECenter • Kidwell Farm, a working farm of the 1930s-era at Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon, now with historic carousel • Eight distinctive historic properties available for rent • A working grist mill at Colvin Run in Great Falls and a restored 18th century home at Sully Historic Site in Chantilly • A horticulture center at Green Spring Gardens in Annandale • Natural and cultural resources protected by the Natural Resource Management Plan and Cultural Resource Plans, plus an Invasive Management Area program that targets alien plants and utilizes volunteers in restoring native vegetation throughout our community • Picnic shelters, tennis courts, miniature golf courses, disc golf courses, off-leash dog parks, amphitheaters, a marina, kayaking/canoeing center • Provides 263 athletic fields, including 39 synthetic turf fields, and manages athletic field maintenance services at 417 school athletic fields. PARK AUTHORITY BOARD: A 12-member citizen board, appointed by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, sets policies and priorities for the Fairfax County Park Authority. Visit for Fairfax County Government's Comment Policy.

7 thoughts on “Jesse, Our Gentle Giant, Passes

  1. Jan lowstuter

    Please replace Jeese with my percheron that I have to find a home for. He looks just like him. My husband died and I can not afford to feed him this winter so I have to do something.

  2. Ann Brokaw

    The Park Management should talk with Gentle Giants Draft Rescue to see if they have any adoptable drafts who would be suitable for the park. It is sad to think of Frying Pan Park being without draft horses.

  3. Alexis Mahoney

    My daughter, Penelope, is in love with all of the animals at Frying Pan, but especially Jesse. She will be heartbroken by the news. Is there any chance you’ll be holding some kind of funeral or memorial for him. I think some closer would help so many of his admirers.

  4. Kristina Labman

    Our family loves both Micheal and Jesse. They will be missed. My son and I visited him last Thursday and I he came right up to us. So sad to hear this. Rest in peace with your brother sweet soul.

  5. Anastasia Melnikova

    My name is Anastasia. I visit frying pan farm once a year and I love Jesse and he is one of my horse friends. When I came back in march/12/2016 Jesse wasn’t in his stable and then I started looking for him in the pastures but he is not there. After half an hour my mom told me that Jesse died I was very sad. So sad that I cried and my heart is heavy. Good bye Jesse and I’ll miss you forever!


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