The Morgan Horse

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 be 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 possessions.

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.