Horse Isle 3: Big Book of Breeds
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Big Book of Breeds
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[ INDEX ] Equine Type: Horse Breed: Morgan   [ PREV ] [ NEXT ]
The Morgan is one of the oldest native American horse breeds, and is one of the few horse breeds where all of the horses of the breed can be traced back to one foundation stallion. In the case of the Morgan breed, this stallion is Figure (also known as Justin Morgan).

The story of the Morgan starts with a bay stallion named 'Figure', who was foaled in 1789, and who belonged to a man called Justin Morgan. Figure was a small horse, standing at only around 14hh, but was nevertheless stronger and faster than horses larger than him. These impressive characteristics made him famous in the state of Vermont, where Figure was often referred to as "the Justin Morgan horse" and "the little Morgan". After his owner, Justin Morgan, passed away, Figure was renamed after him.

Figure became a popular sire, who sired hundreds of horses, and passed them all of his incredible abilities, in what was the beginning of the Morgan breed. Morgan horses are versatile horses, who were used for a variety of tasks, including working in agriculture, pulling buggies, racing, and serving as ranch, riding and even cavalry horses. In addition, during the 19th century, Morgan horses influenced several American breeds, among which are the Standardbred, the Tennessee Walker, the American Saddlebred, and the American Quarter Horse.

Morgan horses were always known for their fine trot and pacing abilities, and at some point the fastest trotter in the world was a Morgan horse. During the 20th century, Morgans were crossed with American Saddlebreds in order to refine their trotting style and to enhance their "showy" appearance. This created a new subtype of the Morgan horse, called the 'Park-type Morgan', which is lighter and has higher-stepping gaits than the original Morgan, and which is therefore better suited for harness shows.
Today, Morgan horses are a popular breed in various countries, but especially in the USA, and can be seen in a variety of Western and English disciplines, as well as in harness shows.

Morgan horses come primarily in the colors of chestnut, bay, and black, but a variety of other colors can be found in this breed as well, except for pearl and champagne dilutions. In addition, while most Morgan horses have solid coats, some Morgans have splashed-white, sabino, or frame coats. Morgan horses stand between 14.1hh and 15.2hh.

(For more info about the subtypes of the Morgan horse, see the 'Foundation Morgan' and the 'Park-type Morgan')

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