Morgans are noted for their small ears set above a broad forehead with
large, kind eyes, tapered muzzles, and expressive nostrils; an arched
neck set on a well angled shoulder; broad chest and short back; deep,
compact bodies set on legs with flat, dense bone; round croup; and
round, hard hooves. Their proud bearing gives them a distinctive
beauty that catches the eye of all.
The Morgan horse is free moving and calm under western tack or elegant
and aristocratic ridden in English style. The Morgan’s soundness, power,
agility, and stamina make it the choice of many driving enthusiasts.
Reliable, loyal, and tireless, a Morgan becomes one with people of all
ages and walks of life, sharing the mutual enjoyment in every equine
Justin Morgan was a teacher, composer, businessman and horseman who moved
to Randolph, Vermont from Springfield, Massachusetts in 1788. He acquired
a bay colt, born in 1789 and named him Figure. This colt was to become the
founding sire of the Morgan breed and America’s first horse breed.
Figure impressed many a pioneer farmer and settler with his compact muscular
body and stylish way of moving. His ability to outwalk, outtrot, outrun and
outpull other horses was legendary. He died in 1821 from an untreated kick
received from another horse leaving his three most famous sons Sherman,
Bulrush and Woodbury to carry on his legacy.
The offspring of Justin Morgan’s sons and daughters grew along with the
young nation building itself upon hard work and determination. Morgans
worked along side their owners clearing fields and forests. When the
week's work was done, they provided transportation to Saturday market
and Sunday meeting. In addition, they pulled stagecoaches throughout
In the 1840s several breeders in Vermont and western New Hampshire began
efforts to concentrate the Morgan lines. By locating second, third, and
fourth generation descendants of the original Morgan horse, they established
the foundations of the breed. By the mid-1850s Morgans were selling for
high prices and were widely distributed across the United States.
During the Civil War, Morgans served as cavalry mounts and artillery horses.
A cavalryman was only as good as his horse and the Morgan is mentioned in
many sources as a highly desired horse during the Civil War. The First
Vermont Cavalry, mounted entirely on Morgans, gained a wide spread reputation
as a fighting unit. Of their more than 1200 horses, only 200 survived the war.
Morgans are noted for their small ears set above a broad forehead with large,
kind eyes, tapered muzzle and expressive nostrils, an arched neck set on a
well angled shoulder, broad chest, short back; deep, compact bodies set on
legs with flat, dense bone; round croup and round, hard hooves. Their proud
bearing gives them a distinctive beauty that catches the eye of all.
The stamina and spirit of the Morgan, combined with its build and way of
traveling, contributed greatly to the formation of other American breeds.
These breeds include the Standardbred, Quarter Horse, Tennessee Walking
Horse, and American Saddle Horse.
The Morgan Horse of Today
Today, Morgans can be found in all 50 states and in more than 20 foreign
countries. Individuals generally range from 14.1 to 15.2 hands, with exceptions
under and over. Colors allowed within the breed include bay, black, brown,
chestnut, gray, palomino, creme, dun and buckskin. Since its establishment,
the American Morgan Horse Registry has listed more than 179,000 Morgans.
The Morgan has remained a stylish mount with conformation that lends itself
well to a vast range of disciplines and its versatility is widely recognized.
The breed's soundness, power, agility and stamina make it the choice of many
driving enthusiasts. Morgans comprise a large number of entries at Combined
Driving and Carriage events, and were the first American breed to represent
the United States in World Pairs Driving competition.
Morgans also excel in many other disciplines, including Park Saddle and Harness,
English and Classic Pleasure Saddle and Driving, Western, Hunter, Jumper, Eventing,
Dressage, Reining, Cutting, Endurance and Competitive Trail. They are gentle enough
for lessons, 4-H and Pony Club involvement and due to their steady, comfortable
gaits are in great demand as therapeutic riding horses. Morgans are equally know
for their loving, kind dispositions.