Information about light horse breeds, backgrounds and history of hot-blooded and warmblood light horses with horse class, equestrian discipline, and horse training by body types: stock type, hunter type, saddle type and others.
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The Morgan is one of America's first native breeds. It owes its existence to a single stallion named 'Figure'. The breed was named after its owner, Justin Morgan, who was a school teacher in New England in the late 1700's. This stallion was said to possess incredible strength and speed, even though he stood at only 14 hands.
The ancestry of the horse, Figure, is uncertain. Some claim he was a Welsh Cob while others say he descended from the racehorse, True Briton. But either way he was noted for being very strong and fast, and a familiar participant at the races and weight hauling contests. His reputation grew and he became a desired stud. His descendents were popularly used for driving and harness racing, and in the Civil War the Morgan's pulled canons.
The modern Morgan Horses are more refined but still strong and spirited. They are known for having wonderfully pleasant personalities with an exceptional cooperative and willing attitude. They tend to be high stepping horses, usually carrying their head and tail higher than other horses too, and a few Morgans are gaited. This is one of the most popular horse breeds in the United States and it has its own registry, the American Morgan Horse Association.
The Morgan Horse is a light horse breed. These light horses are also referred to as a warmblood horse. Light horse breeds generally weigh under 1,500 pounds. They are typically used as riding horses for leisure and trail riding. Being agile and swift, many are also used on the racetrack, in the show ring, and for work on the ranch.
Light horses are grouped in a couple of different ways, one being the continent or country where they originated from. They are also grouped according to training, classified as either a stock type, hunter type, saddle type, or 'other'. A body type is generally attributed to each class, with the 'other' classification being a bit of an odd ball. It includes those that are color breeds or those that may fit a body type of one of the training classes, but not be used for that type of training. In some cases the 'other' types can also include those that may fit into more than one of the type groups.
The horse class the Morgan Horse primarily fits into is the 'saddle' type class, though due to its strength it is quite versatile, skilled at driving as well. They are also increasingly being used as dressage and jumping horses.
Figure, the sire of the Morgan breed, was owned by a school teacher named Justin Morgan and lived in New England in the late seventeen hundreds. There is some discrepancy as to his ancestry. Some claim he was Welsh Cob, while others say he descended from a racehorse named True Briton.
He was known for his incredible strength and speed, and was a familiar face at races and weight-hauling matches. His reputation spread across New England and he became a desired stud horse. His descendants also possessed his strength and speed and his small stature.
In the 1800's, Morgans became popular driving and harness racing horses, and during the Civil War, soldiers rode Morgans and used them to pull cannons. The modern Morgan is much more refined than Figure, but still possesses his spirited nature and versatility. Today, the Morgan is one of the most popular breeds in the USA and has its own breed registry, the American Morgan Horse Association.
Morgans tend to be small in stature (14.2 to 15.2 hands) and the most common colors are bay, brown, black, and chestnut. They have a short head with a wide forehead and their face can either be slightly dished or have a flat profile, but never a roman nose (bends outward). Their eyes are large and bright and the ears are small and nicely shaped.
Morgan Horses tend to hold their heads high and have an upright, muscular neck. They have a deep, angular shoulder, a broad chest, and a strong, short back. The withers are higher than the hips and it is ideal for the hind legs to be camped out behind. Morgans also usually have a long, thick mane and tail.
Morgans are known for having exceptionally pleasant dispositions and are extremely willing horses. They tend to step high and carry their heads and tails higher than other horses do. A few Morgans are gaited, which means they have different gaits from the normal four gaits: walk, trot, canter, and gallop.
Horse Care and Feeding
They are known to be easy keepers, meaning that they generally stay at a good weight on less feed than other horses might. They may need to be kept on low amounts of sweet feeds to keep them from getting overweight.
Horse Training and Activities
Morgans are extremely versatile as they are great carriage and saddle horses. They are historically known for their skill at driving or pulling carriages. Morgans often compete in combined driving, which is a three-day competition consisting of a dressage test, a marathon where they must navigate obstacles over a 5 to 13-mile course, and a cones course where the horses must navigate through pairs of cones that are just wide enough for the cart to fit through.
An example of an exemplary Morgan athlete is the stallion HVK Courageous Flaire, who has been world champion several times in a driving class called park harness and in an English riding class called park saddle. Morgans perform well in a wide variety of show classes including Western Pleasure, Pleasure Driving, and English Pleasure. They are also increasingly being used as dressage and jumping horses.
Common Health Problems
Morgans have remarkably few medical conditions present in the breed. The occurrence of genetic diseases is at about the same rate as the general horse population. They have a low incidence of leg and foot problems. Morgans tend to be long-lived and can often live past 30 years.
Morgan Horses are fairly available throughout the United States.
Anonymous - 2013-08-02 Morgan horses are spirited, but are they jumpy and highstrung? I am looking for a first horse and I am afraid of horses when they are highstrung. Thanks.
Jasmine Brough Hinesley - 2013-08-04 Well any horse can be high-strung, but Morgan horses generally aren't too high-strung. Other good ones are Quarter Horses and Paint Horses.
Anonymous - 2013-11-03 It depends upon the type of Morgan family the Morgan horse you select comes from. I have a 'Show' Morgan and this type is spirited, sassy, proud yet stubburn and defiante. She can be a handful if you are hardhanded or give poor cues in how to work her. She is more like a performance horse. A friend of ours has a 'Working' Morgan and that type is easygoing, lighthearted with a willingness to be your companion. It's this type of horse which most persons envision owning. They are kind of like the Paint horse or maybe even a Quarter horse. But, please check out what his/her lineage is before you commit yourself to the Morgan horse. I love our 'Show' Morgan, she is alot of work and full of sass but she is well worth the time and effort put into her.
The unknown horse lover - 2014-05-09 Any horse can be high strung, I have a 4 year old quarter horse mare that hasn't been ridden in over a year because she got injured terribly while running in the field with my Uncle's horses. They caused her to kick a trailer and her hoof came half off, she was on stable rest for months after that. Now her hoof is healed except when I get on her, she bucks. So um...I guess my point is, any horse can be high strung or aggressive or both. But my suggestion would be a cross-breed, maybe a Morgan, Clydesdale mix? I have one of them and she is amazingly well behaved and talented, she's also great for beginning riders, she's 17. Try looking up cross-breeds and tell me what you think! I hope this helped!
dont know you - 2014-11-16 Morgan horses can be very good nautered if you ride and work them often
Anonymous - 2015-04-24 I bought a 2yr old Morgan, broke her out, she is VERY personable, low keyed when riding, and willing to do as I ask. she LOVES people and can be a bothersome pet!! in the field? around other horses? she IS the ALPHA... I love this mare, I noticed the more ground work, she is even better under saddle. she is 6 now, and trail rides over 30 acres,,, she is a dream.
Anonymous - 2017-01-01 No matter the breed, horses vary. If you are looking for a calm horse you might want to look for an older horse, not ancient but somewhere in its early to mid teens. Morgans are generally known for their good temperament, but temperament is different for each individual horse too.
Kay - 2014-01-18 I bought a Morgan at an auction for my daughter when she was 10 years old. She liked to hang around the race track. A lot ofpeople hit her up for a race. She out run every horse. A lot of people tried to buy him. She liked to barrel race . He couldnt change leads at the barrels. I bought her a quarter horse. He could change leads but was not near as fast as the Morgan. She then gave the morgan back to me. I never been on a better horse. I kept him until he died of old age. If I ever get another horse it would be a Morgan
horse woman yo - 2014-11-24 I agree Morgan horses are good riding horses WWE have 3pert morgans that are awesome
Dee - 2014-03-03 My cousin bought a Morgan mare about 4 years ago. He has been gracious enough to let me ride her any time I want. She is very high strung and the most amazing animal ever. She's in her mid 20s, but you would never know she's that old. She is not a horse for a novice as she will take full advantage of someone who does not know what they are doing.