In 1791 Justin Morgan, a singing school master in Randolph, walked home
from Springfield, Ma. with a bay 2 year old colt taken for payment of a
debt owed to him. That colt he called Figure, who became a legend for his ability
to outwork, outrun, outtrot, and outwalk any horse in the area. Over the course of his 30 years that he lived in Vermont, countless sons and
daughters were produced in his image.
For Justin Morgan's horse, now better
known by his master's name, was one of the greatest breeding stallions
of all time. He is the only one to establish a breed by himself. The popularity of the Morgan breed spread across this
nation. Outstanding horses can be found in every generation that was added to his lineage: Black Hawk, for his symmetry and perfection at the trot, Ethan Allen, a champion
trotter of the world, renowned in the Racing Hall of Fame and familiar
from Currier and Ives prints, and Green Mountain Morgan, winner of
premiums and championships as a blood stallion as far away as Kentucky,
Ohio, and Michigan.
horse earned his keep as a general purpose frontier
horse, in teams hauling freight or passengers, trotting races, pulling
doctor's buggies, delivering mail, drawing carriages of presidents
and financiers, and even being cavalry horses.
|Photo courtesy of Dead Creek Ranch
During the Civil War the 1st Vermont Cavalry was mounted exclusively on
Morgans.Out of 1,000 horses only 200 returned home after having served the 75 major
conflicts. They won a reputation for being the best cavalry and
Photo courtesy of UVM Farm
From 1907 to 1951 what is now the University of
Vermont Morgan Horse Farm in Middlebury was operated by the U.S.D.A. to
perpetuate the breed and provide breeding stallions for Remount stations
across the country. Some of the most famous endurances horses have been
You will find a contribution of Morgan blood in many of the American breeds. This includes the Saddlebred, the
Standardbred, the Tennessee Walker and the Quarter horse. Times have changed and so has the uses of the Morgan Horse but they have adapted to every need.
The Morgan Horse has a strong desire to please and to give his best has remained a
constant. He has shown just how well he can do things through his versatility.
In harness or under saddle, he has a wonderful disposition and willing
attitude makes him an ideal family horse. An amatuer can raise and train
him with minimal help. He is an easy keeper, remains healthy and sound over
a life span 10 years longer than most breeds. On a noisy, busy road or a
mountain trail, working cattle or accepting the discipline of dressage,
teaching children the basics of horsemanship or showing off his
brilliant and animated gaits in a Horse Show Park class, Morgans do it