For many years, LIFE published a popular feature called Miscellany on the last page of the magazine—”a back-of-the-magazine institution,” as long-time Managing Editor George Hunt once characterized it. Merriam-Webster defines miscellany as “a mixture of various things,” and LIFE’s version certainly lived up to the name, presenting readers with photos of people in bizarre or humorous situations, inexplicable natural phenomena, animals with unusual talents, optical illusions and the like.
Here, LIFE.com celebrates the star of the first-ever entry in the Miscellany annals, from the May 19, 1952, issue of LIFE: Jimmy, the roller-skating horse.
Under the title, “Merrily He Rolls Along,” LIFE informed its (we suspect) delighted readers that Jimmy was an especially unusual horse, “and not merely because of his light blue eyes or breast markings which resemble a baseball chest protector.”
Eleven years later, in August 1963, editor Hunt would pen an Editor’s Note recounting the success of Miscellany through the years, while letting LIFE’s millions of readers know that, “as for the animal who started it all, Jimmy is now 13 years old and doing fine. His owner assured us by phone that ‘he can skate as well as when he was a colt.'”
If only that could be said of all of us.
Ben Cosgrove is the Editor of LIFE.com