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Morgan horse

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Morgan horse

Morgan Horse
A Morgan Horse
Distinguishing features Compact, muscular but refined build, clean-cut head, well arched neck.
Country of origin United States
Breed standards
American Morgan Horse Association Breed standards
Equus ferus caballus

The Morgan horse is one of the earliest University of Vermont. The first breed registry was established in 1909, and since then many organizations in the US, Europe and Oceania have developed. There are estimated to be over 175,000 Morgan horses in existence worldwide as of 2005.

The Morgan is a compact, refined breed, generally Disney movie.

Breed characteristics

A Morgan in horse show competition

There is officially one breed standard for Morgan type, regardless of the discipline or bloodline of the individual horse. Compact and refined in build, the Morgan has strong legs, an expressive head with a straight or slightly convex profile and broad forehead; large, prominent eyes; well-defined withers, laid back shoulders, an upright, well arched neck, and a clean cut head.[2] The back is short,[3] and hindquarters are strongly muscled,[2] with a long and well-muscled croup. The tail is attached high and carried gracefully and straight.[3] They appear to be a strong powerful horse,[3] and the breed is well known as an easy keeper.[1] The breed standard for height ranges from 14.1 to 15.2 hands (57 to 62 inches, 145 to 157 cm), with some individuals over and under.[2]


One genetic disease has been identified within the Morgan breed. This is Type 1 allele for this condition, one of the lowest percentages amongst breeds in that study.[7]

Two heterozygous for frame overo to each other.[11]

Breed history

A Morgan horse with rider in colonial attire at the Kentucky Horse Park. Costuming intended to resemble Justin Morgan and Figure.

Justin Morgan

All Morgans trace back to a single foundation sire, a [13] Figure is thought to have stood about 14 hands (56 inches, 142 cm), and to have weighed about 1,000 pounds (450 kg). He was known for his prepotency, passing on his distinctive looks, conformation, temperament, and athleticism.[13] His exact pedigree is unknown, although extensive efforts have been made to discover his parentage. One historian notes that the writings on the possibility of his sire being a Thoroughbred named Beautiful Bay would "fill 41 detective novels and a membership application for the Liars' Club."[14] In 1821, Figure was kicked by another horse and later died of his injuries. He was buried in Tunbridge, Vermont.[15]

Although Figure was used extensively as a breeding stallion, records are known to exist for only six of his sons, three of whom became notable as [13]

Breed development

Morgan horse, 1888

In the 19th century, Morgans were used extensively for [13]

Daniel C. Lindley, a native of University of Vermont).[20]

Military use

Morgans were used as [4] records of the U.S. Army and other early sources do not support this. Most accounts state that Comanche was either of "Mustang lineage"[23] or a mix of "American" and "Spanish" blood.[24] The University of Kansas Natural History Museum, which has the stuffed body of Comanche on display, makes no statement as to his breed. All sources agree that Comanche originated in the Oklahoma or Texas area, making his Mustang background more likely.[25]

A young Morgan showing typical breed type


There are four main bloodlines groups within the Morgan breed today, known as the Brunk, Government, Lippitt, and Western Working "families." There are also smaller subfamilies. The Brunk Family, particularly noted for soundness and athleticism, traces to the Illinois breeding program of [1] When USDA involvement ended, the University of Vermont purchased not only the farm,[20] but much of its breeding stock and carries on the program today. The Working Western Family, abbreviated 2WF, have no common breeder or ancestor, but are the horses bred to be stock horses and work cattle, some descended from Government farm stallions shipped west.[1]


A Morgan and rider in saddle seat competition

In 1909, the Morgan Horse Club was founded, later changing its name to the American Morgan Horse Association. During the 1930s and 1940s, there was controversy within the registry membership as to whether the [13]

The American Morgan Horse Association (AMHA) is the largest association for the breed. In addition to the AMHA, since 1996, there has also been a National Morgan Pony Registry, which specializes in horses under 14.2 [34] In Middlebury, Vermont there is a museum dedicated to the history of the breed.[35]


A Morgan horse used for Western riding

The Morgan breed is known for its versatility, and is used for a number of 4-H and Pony Club participants and therapeutic riding programs, due to their gentle disposition and steady movement.[3]

There are Morgan-only shows held throughout the US, as well as an "open competition" program run by the AMHA that gives points based on competition success at all-breed shows.[36] The first annual Grand National & World Championship Morgan Horse Show was held in 1973 in Vermont,[38] and in 1970, the official state horse of Massachusetts.[39]

In literature and film

A Lippitt Morgan stallion

The children's book, Justin Morgan Had a Horse by [42]

[44] These awards were given by the International Reading Association and the Children’s Book Council.[43]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Frequently Asked Questions". American Morgan Horse Association. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  2. ^ a b c d "The Morgan Horse Judging Standards" (PDF). American Morgan Horse Association. 2010. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "2012 USEF Rule Book, Morgan Horse Division, Rule 102" (PDF). United States Equestrian Federation. Retrieved 2012-06-27. 
  4. ^ a b c "The Morgan Horse – An American Legend". Oklahoma State University. Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  5. ^ a b "Guidelines to Coat Color & Coat Characteristics" (PDF). American Morgan Horse Association. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  6. ^ Valberg, Stephanie (2006). "Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy" (PDF). AAEP Proceedings 52. 
  7. ^ Valberg, Stephanie (January 9, 2012). "Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy". University of Minnesota. Retrieved 2012-06-27. 
  8. ^ Andersson; Lisa S.; Juras, Rytis; Ramsey, David T.; Eason-Butler, Jessica; Ewart, Susan; Cothran, Gus; Lingren, Gabriella (2008). "Equine Multiple Congenital Ocular Anomalies maps to a 4.9 megabase interval on horse chromosome 6". BMC Genetics 9 (88).  
  9. ^ Behning, Laura. "About the Silver Dapple Dilution Gene". The Silver Dapple Morgans Project. Retrieved 2012-07-27. 
  10. ^ Behning, Laura Hornick (April 2009). "High White Rising" (PDF). The Morgan Horse: 48–57. Retrieved 2012-10-24. 
  11. ^ Behning, Laura Hornick (April 2008). "What Color Is It Anyway? A Primer on Foal Color" (PDF). The Morgan Horse: 49. Retrieved 2012-06-27. 
  12. ^ a b "American Morgan Horse". International Museum of the Horse. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f g Dutson, Judith (2005). Storey's Illustrated Guide to 96 Horse Breeds of North America. Storey Publishing. pp. 177–180.  
  14. ^ Harris, Fredie Steve (1973). Horse Breeds of the West. Cordovan Corporation. p. 44. 
  15. ^ De Steiguer, J. Edward (2011). Wild Horses of the West: History and Politics of America's Mustangs. University of Arizona Press. p. 111.  
  16. ^ "History of the Breed". Foundation Foxtrotter Heritage Association. Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  17. ^ Reese, H.H. (1921). Breeding Morgan Horses at the U.S. Morgan Horse Farm. USDA Department Circular 199. pp. 1–18. 
  18. ^ Anonymous (1942). "The United States Morgan Horse Farm". The Morgan Horse Magazine 1 (5): 77–79. 
  19. ^ Williams, John O (1926). "Morgan Horse Record". Yearbook of Agriculture. pp. 526–529. 
  20. ^ a b "History". UVM Morgan Horse Farm. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  21. ^ Lynghaug, F. (2006). Horses of Distinction: Stars of the Pleasure Breeds with Exceptional Shine. Hallelujah Publications. p. 50.  
  22. ^ Millard, James Kemper (2007). Kentucky's Saddlebred Heritage. Arcadia Publishing. p. 8.  
  23. ^ "Famous Horses". Encyclopedia Smithsonian. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 2012-06-13. 
  24. ^ Nye, Elwood. "Marching with Custer". The Long Riders Guild Academic Foundation. Retrieved 2012-06-13. 
  25. ^ "Comanche Preservation". University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute. 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-13. 
  26. ^ Fringe Benefits" on the Knight Farm""". Warwick Digital History Project. Retrieved 2012-07-27. 
  27. ^ Stearns, Sarah (December 1, 2008). "Lippitt Morgans". Horsemen's Yankee Pedlar. Retrieved 2012-07-27. 
  28. ^ Curler, Elizabeth A. "History of the American Morgan Horse Register: 1894–1994". American Morgan Horse Association. Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  29. ^ "Home". National Morgan Pony Registry. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  30. ^ "Home". Rainbow Morgan Horse Association. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  31. ^ "Home". Foundation Morgan Horse Association. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  32. ^ "Welcome to the Lippitt Club". Lippitt Club, Inc. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  33. ^ "Home". Lippitt Morgan Breeders Association. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  34. ^ "Links". Canadian Morgan Horse Association. Retrieved 2012-06-14. 
  35. ^ "Home". National Museum of the Morgan Horse. Retrieved 2012-06-14. 
  36. ^ "Competitions". American Morgan Horse Association. Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  37. ^ "About the Show". Grand National & World Championship Morgan Horse Show. Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  38. ^ "1 V.S.A. § 500. State animal". Vermont State House. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  39. ^ "Section 11: Horse or horse emblem of commonwealth". Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  40. ^ "Newbery Medal and Honor Books, 1922–Present". Association for Library Service to Children. Retrieved 2012-06-14. 
  41. ^ "Marguerite Henry". Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2004. 
  42. ^ Temple, Robert (2010). The History of Harness Racing in New England. Xlibris Corporation. p. 9.  
  43. ^ a b "Children's Choices for 2005" (PDF). The Reading Teacher 59 (2): 170. October 2005.  
  44. ^ "Children's Choices for 2004" (PDF). The Reading Teacher 58 (2): 201. October 2004.  

Further reading

  • Mellin, Jeanne (1986), The Complete Morgan Horse, S. Greene Press (Viking/Penguin Imprint), ISBN 0828905908
  • Morgan, W. Robert (1987), The Morgan Horse of the West, Vantage Press, ISBN 0533071100
  • Spencer, Sally (1994), The Morgan Horse, J.A. Allen, ISBN 0851315992

External links

  • The American Morgan Horse Association
  • Canadian Morgan Horse Association
  • Foundation Morgan Horse Society
  • The Lippitt Club
  • Rainbow Morgan Horse Association for Colorful Morgans
  • National Morgan Pony Registry
  • Lippitt Morgan Breeders Association
  • The Lippitt Morgan Horse Registry, Inc.
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