HORSE BREEDS: MORGAN HORSE

The Morgan horse was the first breed developed in the U.S. As the story goes, Figure, the very first Morgan, was born in West Springfield, Massachusetts in 1789. Justin Morgan from Randolph, Vermont was given the colt as repayment for a debt. In those days it was common for a horse to become known by its owner’s name; thus, Figure came to be called the Justin Morgan Horse.

While little is known of Figure’s origins, what made him remarkable was his ability to out-pull, out-trot and outrun other horses. Even more remarkable was the fact that he passed these qualities on to his sons and daughters, and they also passed them on. In addition, they all resembled Figure physically, with very distinct traits.  Through the years, Morgans helped build the country, moving settlers west, serving as cavalry mounts and contributing to the foundation of several other U.S. horse breeds.

What Does a Morgan Look Like?

The Morgan’s head should be expressive with a broad forehead and large prominent eyes, with straight or slightly dished short face. The throatlatch is slightly deeper than other breeds, and the neck should be slightly arched and blend smoothly with the withers and back. The withers should be well defined, and the shoulder is deep and sloping. The body should be compact with a short back, well-sprung ribs and a long, well-muscled croup. Viewed from the side, the top line should look like a gentle curve from the poll to the back, giving the impression of the neck sitting on top of the withers rather than in front of them, continuing to a short, straight back and a relatively level croup. The tail should be attached high and carried well-arched.

Today’s Morgans are known for their beauty and versatility and can be found participating in any number of equine sports. Their animated attitude and high-stepping action helps them excel in the show ring. Morgans are very popular and successful in carriage driving competitions, and their stamina makes them great trail horses. For more information, visit www.morganhorse.com.