The Morgan Horse
The Morgan breed originated in West Springfield,
Massachusetts in 1789, with the birth of a bay colt named Figure. He was most
likely sired by True Briton, an English Thoroughbred of Arabian ancestry,
imported to America in the mid-1700s. However, there are claims that Figure was
the offspring of Young Bullrock, a Dutch-bred stallion. His dam is agreed to a
mare of “Wildair breeding”, also of Arabian or Thoroughbred blood lines.
At one year of age, Figure was given to a Randolph,
Vermont schoolmaster named Justin Morgan in partial payment of a debt. Figure
soon matured into a beautiful stallion that could out trot, out run and out pull
most other horses. His gentle disposition and hardiness also greatly impressed
people from far and wide who requested his services as a breeding stallion.
Whatever Figure’s ancestry, his characteristics are
unmistakable. Endowed with large, kind eyes; small, tipped-in ears; broad
foreheads; tapered muzzles; expressive nostrils; refined and arched necks; broad
chests; short backs; compact bodies; well-angled shoulders; round croup; fine
legs with dense bones; round, hard hooves and a proud carriage, they were
greatly renowned for their beauty.
So close was the bond between man and horse that Figure
later became known by his owner’s name, Justin Morgan. The bay stallion worked
hard during his 31 years. Because thrifty New Englanders recognized the quality
of his offspring, both colts and fillies of the great horse were prized
The majority of registered Morgan horses can trace their
lineage back to this single foundation stallion through his three most famous
sons- Bulrush, Woodbury, and Sherman.
This first American breed, the Morgan horse, can be found
world wide today.
Source: The American Morgan Horse Association Inc.
The Morgan Horse and American history:
In the Civil War, General Sheridan rode his Morgan,
Rienzi for the Union and General Stonewall Jackson rode his Morgan, Little
Sorrel for the Confederacy.
January 2014 Iowa Morgan Horse Association
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