Uses and characteristics of Morgans
Morgan horses were bred to be both practical and good-looking. These qualities meant that in their homeland, the USA, to buy a Morgan was to purchase a trustworthy, attractive horse. Their soundness, strength and willingness to work are key factors when intending to sell a Morgan horse to knowledgeable buyers. Morgans are adaptable horses that can participate in a range of activities from jumping to driving that the whole family can enjoy. Most importantly, these compact, powerful horses have strong, hard feet. Their unique combination of intelligence, character and looks is what sets Morgan horses apart.
Origin and history of breeding Morgans
Morgan horses are an internationally recognised breed. The foundation stallion was a small and charismatic horse called Figure, who was known by the name of his owner, as ""Justin Morgan's horse"". Figure sired a number of foals, many of which had his desirable characteristics of beauty, intelligence and strength. His outstanding reputation was of key importance when people wanted to sell a Morgan horse.
Owners of his offspring soon found plenty of interest from people wanting to buy a Morgan horse. This was due to Figure's ability to pass on his qualities so well, a trait that not all stallions possessed. Those wanting to sell a Morgan knew they had a horse with a particular ""stamp"" that people wanted.
What were the talents that made Figure so successful and famous, and made it so desirable to buy a Morgan horse? There is a hint of mystery about the stallion, who was born in 1789 in Massachusetts. Some suggested that his sire was a thoroughbred, though there is little evidence to support this. It seems more likely that at least some of his ancestors were Welsh cobs, a type of horse that was known from medieval times.
Justin Morgan was given Figure in payment of a debt and this small young stallion - only 14 hh (1.42 m) tall and weighing under 1000 lb (450 kg) - soon proved himself to be a talented all-rounder. He worked on the land, dragged logs and was a good driving and riding horse. He raced successfully against well-known horses from New York. His action, speed and looks drew the eye.
Morgan horses in equestrianism
Versatile Morgans were used in many roles in the 19th century, from cavalry mounts to coach horses. The modern Morgan horse is a handsome all-rounder from 14.1 to 15.2 hands ( 145 to 157 cm) high. Like Figure, they can be bay, while black and chestnut are popular too. All Morgans have what is called ""presence"" - they make people stop and look! As one of the USA’s earliest breeds, they excel at western riding and their versatility means they are a superb choice for any discipline. Their all-round ability as riding, driving and working horses makes them popular with all ages.
Morgan horse facts and famous Morgans
A Morgan horse won the show jumping gold medal at the 1948 Olympics. They move beautifully with natural collection and Morgans have featured in books, TV series and films. There is even a Morgan horse museum!