Breeds of Horses - A to Z
This American horse is unique in being named after one stallion Justin Morgan, an exceptional 14h.h. stallion who excelled in weight pulling contests and races, both under saddle and in harness. He produced his own type, character and conformation with remarkable exactness. Justin Morgan was by True Briton, said to be a Thoroughbred but more likely he was a Welsh Cob (True Briton being a common name in the breed) there are many theories about his ancestry, but there are no satisfactory records to prove conclusive evidence of his bloodlines. More importantly we are sure that he was an exceptionally strong little workhorse weighing no more than 850lb (386kg). He was born around 1789 and was originally named 'Figure' later taking his name from his first recorded owner 'Thomas Justin Morgan' a man born from farming stock in Vermouth, who was also a music teacher and composer.
During the lifetime of the horse Justin Morgan he had a succession of
different owners for whom he worked very hard; ploughing the land - as a
harness horse and clearing woodland. He was never beaten in log hauling
contests against horses much heavier, weighing half as much again.
As a very prepotent stallion his progeny inherited his qualities. Three sons
have had a specific influence on the breed: Sherman Morgan foaled around
1808, Bulrush Morgan 1812 and Woodbury Morgan 1816: The Sherman Morgan line
was noted for its excellent harness horses and has had a significant
influence on other breeds in America; the Quarter Horse, Saddlebred,
Standardbred and Tennessee Walking Horse; the Bulrush Morgans (also known as
'The Park Horse' originally ridden in the parks of Southern America) were
noted for their high action trotting pace; while the Woodbury Morgans were
noted as 'The Pleasure Horse' and they were saddle and parade horses. All
three lines have the same conformation.
The Morgan horse stands at between 14.1 and 15.2h.h. it has an expressive
quality head with either a straight or slightly dished profile, a broad,
flat forehead, large prominent eyes with an alert expression, and short
shapely ears; a slightly high head carriage on a gently arched neck; a good
sloping shoulder and well-defined withers; a short strong back; a deep girth
and body with well sprung ribs; broad loins and deep flank; well muscled,
powerful hindquarters with a high set tail; strong, sound limbs with good
flat bone, short cannons and sloping pasterns; good, sound hooves with dense
horn; a full, flowing, soft mane and tail.
This willing little horse has an amiable, gentle temperament. It possesses
presence and power with endurance, speed and good paces. The Morgan Horse
Club was founded in 1909, which helped prevent further decline of the breed
after motorisation. It is now a thriving breed with many recognised breed
clubs around the world. It is used for showing and because of the
versatility of the breed it is used as a competition horse in many equine
pursuits; as a cutting horse, stock and reigning horse; a hunter-jumper;
dressage, roadster, carriage and driving horse.