Morgan Horse

Morgan

Family: EquidaeMorgan Horse, Picture of a MorganEquus caballusPhoto Wiki-Commons: Courtesy Laura Behning
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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... (more)  Dee

  The Morgan Horse is one of the native american horses and became the most popular American breed of the 19th century!

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.


  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Perissodactyla
  • Family: Equidae
  • Genus: Equus
  • Species: caballus

Horse Breeds


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.

Horse Backgrounds


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.

Description


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.

Availability


Morgan Horses are fairly available throughout the United States.

References


Maria Costantino, The Handbook of Horse Breeds, Barns and Noble, 2004
Mellin, Jeanne, The Morgan Horse Handbook, Penguin, 1980
Frequently Asked Questions About the Morgan Horse, American Morgan Horse Association, referenced online 2008
Author: Sandra Lloyd

Lastest Animal Stories on Morgan Horse

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.

Reply
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

Reply
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.
Reply
Mrs. Kalentons - 2012-01-22
Hello, Would a morgan suit my beginner daughter Fraily as a good horse? thanks.

  • Clarice Brough - 2012-01-22
    I can't see why not, they are spirited but very cooperative. But I would suggest you, your daughter, and possibly your daughters trainer, meet any horse you are considering and ride it before commiting. Make sure that both the horse is trained to your satisfaciton and make sure your daughter has developed the necessary skills to work with it.
  • Mrs. Kalentons - 2012-01-23
    Thank You for the information Clarice Brough.
  • VICTORIA - 2012-07-04
    I would be curious to know if you went with a morgan? How is your daughter doing? Or, what did you decide on and why? Thank you.
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fred - 2011-12-21
I have a 22 year old Morgan mare who thinks and acts like a 6 year old! She's still doing 50 mile Endurance races and LOVES to jump! She has been unbelievably healthy and can be a real sweetheart when she wants to be. I've been looking at other breeds for my next horse, but none are as versatile as a Morgan!!

  • Charlie Roche - 2011-12-22
    WOW that one has stamina - must be much good care and lots of love.
  • Charlene - 2014-01-28
    I'm thinking about adopting a 25year old x show jumper Morgan gelding. From a rescue. In a way I'm worried he might be too old. I plan on doing trail riding. Thanks Charlene
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