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Horses of the Heartland

Morgan History

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Between Figure and Today 

Morgans come in the colors of bay, black, sorrel, and chestnut.  They have no white markings above the knee except for perhaps on the face, such as a blaze, and range in height with most averaging between 14.2 to 15.2 hands.  Morgans have extremely special characteristics, including a want to please, prefering to be with people, good temperments, courage, strength, agility, speed, intelligence, a pleasing gait, easy trainability, grace, and beauty.  These traits make them great for the beginner/child/family.  Morgans are typically not ridden until after reaching the age of three or four, because they mature much slower than most other breeds.  They usually live longer and have been known to live into their 40's.  Moran horses played a key role in the development of several other breeds that are extremely popular today including the American Quarter Horse, the American Saddle Horse, the American Albino, and the Tennessee Walking Horse.
 
 The Morgan horse is a breed that is shrouded in mystery and adventure.  Much like any epic adventure, today there is still a bit of mystery as to whom the parents of Figure, also known as Justin Morgan, really where.  Most people know about how the school teacher Justin Morgan acquired the colt for repayment of a debt.  It is also well known how this colt out-pulled the best draft horse teams, and out-ran the best Thoroughbreds of his time.  Later, this very same horse was ridden by the president of The United States, James Monroe, chosen by the president himself, after his own mount came up lame.  Figure was the only horse of his kind, and so he was bred to many mares over the course of his lifetime.  He sired horses that took on the exact same characteristics both physically and tempermentally.  Through Figure and his offspring came the breed we know as the Morgan.
 
The Morgan horse has been widely used throughout history.  They were used for ranching, driving, pulling carts, plowing, racing, pleasure riding, calvary mounts, etc.  These horses were in high demand as the country grew and prospered.  This was especially so for the calvary and was the prefered calvary mount.  They made up most of the nations regiments.  This was due to the breeds stamina, agility, endurance, strength, speed, and intelligence.
 
The United States Government set up many breeding facilities throughout the nation.  The farms tested their breeding horses extensively to assure that only the best horses were used for breeding purposes.  Some of the tests included an 100-mile endurance ride, jumping, timed races, and temperment.  When these breeding farms closed up, these horses were dispersed among ten states to different ranches.  Today, the Morgan horse is still being used as ranch, family, show, driving, and pleasure horses.

The National Museum of the Morgan Horse

For more information on the Morgan, visit the American Morgan Horse Association at www.morganhorse.com