"Only lit by moonlight and the brilliance of my eye, that midnight ride of Paul Revere's was under a black, black sky. Black as my mane, black as the wind. From New England sprang my fame, and from Justin Morgan came my name."
Horses of the Sun
The Morgan is used for hunting, jumping, in dressage and for competing in the more artifical Park classes, either under saddle or between the shafts. It is also used for western and pleasure riding, driving and trail riding. It owes its existence to a phenomenal stallion of unprecedented prepotency, Justin Morgan, the undisputed sire of the first American breed.
Justin Morgan, a dark bay, was a horse of no more than 14hh. He was born in either 1789 or 1793 at West Springfield, Massachussets and was originally called Figure. He came into the possession of the schoolmaster Justin Morgan, after whom he was named, in 1795 and he died in 1821. He worked incredibly hard plowing, hauling and clearing woodland, but through all his lifetime of hard work and exploitation, he was never beaten in hauling matches or in races, either under saddle or in harness.
All Morgans trace to Justin Morgan through his most famous sons: Sherman, Woodbury and Bullrush. The breed played a large part in the evolution of the Standardbred, the Saddlebred, and the Tennessee Walking Horse, and it was the chosen mount for the US Army until mechanization. The Morgan is a spirited and courageous horse but easily handled and intelligent. It is also a hard, versatile horse, very powerful, well proportioned in all respects, and possesses great stamina.
This breed has a medium-sized head that is clean-cut and tapers from jaw to muzzle. The profile is straight or just slightly dished, but never Roman-nosed. The muzzle is fine, of medium size and with small, firm lips and large nostrils. The eyes are large and bright. The ears are pointed and set wide apart. The mane and forelock are full and the hair is soft and silky, never harsh. The neck must be well created, of medium length and very clean through the throat. The withers are clearly defined but slightly higher than the point of the hip. Sloped well from the withers, the shoulders are of particular strength. The neck joins low at the point of the shoulder. The body is distinctive. The back is short, broad and muscled, the barrel large and round, the chest wide and deep and the whole close-coupled. The show Morgan is always exhibited with a long, flowing tail that reaches to the ground when the horse is not in motion. The official standard of the American Morgan Horse Association stipulates, at length, perfect quarters and hind legs - and they are usually very good. The Morgan's cannon bones are short and, though the limbs are slender, there is plenty of bone and the joints are particulary well formed. The pasterns are strong, of medium length and not too sloping. All hooves are round, of medium size and of smooth, dense horn. The walk is long, straight and elastic; the trot very free, straight, well balanced and collected; the canter is smooth and easy, straight and in balance. Morgan colors are bay, black, brown and chestnut. There are no grays or part-colors. The height is from 14.1-15.2hh. Some may be a little over or under.
Reference: The Ultimate Horse Book; Elwyn Hartley Edwards; 1991
American Morgan Horse Association
Morgan Horse Max
Heart of Texas Morgan Horse Club
Blue Ridge Morgan Horse Association
Morgan International Cowhorse Association
Reference picture courtesy of Aljack Acres
Background picture courtesy of Bossert Ranch
Head shot courtesy of Whistler's Morgan Farm
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