What Is A Lippitt Morgan?
A bay colt, named Figure, became the foundation sire of the Morgan horse. Figure was better known as Justin Morgan, named after his owner the teacher and song writer, from Randolph, Vermont, who acquired him as an unpaid debt. This horse was such a pre-potent and remarkable sire, that he still stamps his descendants today with his distinct type, beauty and versatile characteristics. The Morgan horse breed is the first American breed to be founded solely by one horse.
What is a Lippitt Morgan? - Why Is It So Special?
It is NOT a Morgan horse with a "Lippitt" prefix, though it might be.
It is NOT EVEN a Morgan horse descended totally from Morgans bearing the "Lippitt" prefix, though it might be.
In 1910, Fullerton Phillips, a wealthy Pennsylvania gentleman, traveled to Vermont with a dream of raising Morgan horses. He discovered that the horses he was finding were leaner and rangier than his Morgan ideal. They were bred for speed in harness and had been crossed with other breeds. Therefore, these Morgans lacked the versatility, stamina, and overall beauty that he had come to admire and associate with the type and characteristics of the Morgan breed.
Phillips began his search for the older bloodlines and found his ideal. He admitted to spending $200,000 on horses he bought and on his breeding program. He would jingle the coins in his pocket to hasten his purchases.
In 1922, part of Phillips' herd was grazing on a high pasture when a violent storm struck. Twelve of the thirteen horses were killed by lightning. The one survivor was so terrorized that she had to be destroyed. A few horses had remained safe in the barn and Phillips continued breeding his old-type Morgans but he never fully recovered from this tragedy. He died only five years later in 1927. The precious herd was dispersed, after 17 years of careful breeding. A local grain man carried this news to a gentleman named Robert Lippitt Knight. Here was a man who had a special love for old and rare breeds. He chose two stallions and four mares from the Phillips estate, and brought them to his Green Mountain Stock Farm in Randolph, Vermont. Later he added a few more mares to his herd. Most of the other Morgan owners were breeding their stock to horses of other breeds; trying to stay competitive with the changing wants and needs of the show ring as well as sale-ability, fashion and trends. Knight had no worries about such things. He had his own mission and had no concerns for what others wanted or needed. His mind was on conservation of the original bloodlines. Twenty-five years later, Knight dispersed his entire herd of horses, including his favorite stallion Lippitt Ethan Ash, but he soon realized his mistake. He missed what the horses had brought to his life, and found himself buying back most of the horses that he had sold.
When Knight died in 1962, the culmination of a lifetime of breeding was dispersed at auction. The crowd of old-time Morgan lovers was large in Randolph that day.
In 1971, a small group of people dedicated to these special and rare horses, got together to try to preserve this unique family of Morgans. They gave the name Lippitt Morgan to these horses in thanks to Robert Lippitt Knight's contribution.
The Lippitt is a distinct horse in that it has no recent out-crosses to other
breeds, resulting in the highest percentage of the original blood available
today. Therefore, Lippitts also possess more of the original type and qualities
of their founder, Figure, otherwise known as Justin Morgan. They are celebrated
for their versatility, willingness to please, disposition, type, and overall
beauty that attracted Phillips, Knight and many of us as owners and breeders.
The Lippitt Foundation Stock
The Foundation Stock were chosen by three criteria:
1 - They must be registered Morgans.
2 - They must have as close a cross to our 'cornerstone' Peters' Ethan Allen 2nd 406 as possible.
3 - They must have produced at least one direct line of descent evidenced in our present 'Lippitt' population. Since, to be considered a Lippitt a horse must be totally derived from this Foundation Stock, criteria for their selection is crucial. All Lippitts trace back, on every line of their pedigree to the following foundation horses: