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THE MORGAN HORSE
The Morgan horse is known
as America’s first breed, or the first breed developed in the United
States.The name comes
from the man, Justin Morgan that owned the horse that started it all
whose name was actually Figure.Figure was a tough little stallion in the New England area in
the early 1800’s who had a reputation for doing feats of strength
and stamina that far exceeded what was expected by his size.He was also prepotent, meaning his offspring were stamped
with his characteristics and near perfect copies of him, a
characteristic passed on down the line to his sons which gave rise
to the consistency that started the breed.
Many people believe that the Arabian horse and
thoroughbreds are in the original blood of the Morgan, but there is
far more evidence that it is more the French-Canadian horse that is
the base of the Morgan horse which share many characteristics and
were far more prolific in the part of the country where the Morgan
Morgans are also known as the most versatile
breed.They have been
driving or carriage horses pulling a wide variety of wagons and even
artillery caissons for the military.They were also used as mounts for the cavalry units and there
were famous ones such as Stonewall Jackson’s horse in the
Confederate Army which he rode until he was killed by friendly fire.Letha and I have been to Fort Robinson Nebraska several times
which was a remount station for the U.S. Army and where many Morgans
were bred by the government for cavalry mounts.Fort Robinson is now a Nebraska state park rich with history
and an outstanding place to ride on its 22,000 acres.
Another interesting and not as well known
aspect of the Morgan horse is their prominent place in the
development of gaited horse breeds in America.Morgans have gaited from the beginning and are part of the
foundation of several gaited breeds in the United States including
the Tennessee Walking Horse the foundation mare of which was a
Morgan.Today it is
estimated that about 10% of Morgans are gaited to some degree and
they are becoming more popular as the demand for the smooth ride of
a gaited horse is being re-discovered in the already otherwise
exceptional Morgan horse.
Morgans are also known for their good minds and
better than the average horse’s intelligence.They have the stamina that rivals the Arabian horse in
endurance circles and have been very competitive in endurance races.Many ranchers use Morgans in lieu of quarter horses to work
cattle and they are competitive as reining horses too.They are being used as dressage horses and sport horses as well.The Morgan horse
Is being imported in significant numbers to European countries such
as Sweden and even to Arabian countries such as Dubai.
All in all, the Morgan horse is a special horse that does
many things well and is without question one of the most versatile
horses in the world.If
you haven’t seen or ridden a Morgan, you’ve been missing out!