Saturday, June 9, 2012

Morgan Horse

Morgan Colt
The Morgan Horse is one of the earliest horse breeds developed in the United States, dating back to the late 18th century. They are small, strong horses that often toe the line between being of horse size (over 14.2 hands) and pony size (under 14.2 hands). They come in a wide variety of colors, though black, chestnut, and bay are the most common.

The breed dates back to 1789, when a Massachusetts businessman named Justin Morgan bought a young colt that he named "Figure." Figure was known for his expressive nature, athleticism, gentile nature, and his endurance. When Morgan died, Figure was passed to different owners, and was eventually renamed Justin Morgan after his first master. He became the foundation sire for an entire new breed, and was able to pass on all of his defining traits to his offspring

The breed took off, and by the Civil War it had become a very popular mount for the cavalry, because of their ability to work under pressure and because of their incredible endurance. Several prominent generals on both sides of the conflict rode Morgans, including Stonewall Jackson and his mount "Little Sorrel," and Philip Sheridan's "Rienzi."

The Morgan breed has also been influential in the creation of other American horse breeds. Around 90% of all Saddlebreds carry Morgan blood,  and Standardbreds, Tennessee Walkers, and Quarter Horses all have Morgans in their ancestry.

Morgans continue to be used as riding mounts for all sorts of disciplines. They have their very own breed-specific competition circuit, and they perform in several different events including jumping, dressage, and driving. Morgans are the state animal of Vermont, and are the state horse of Massachusetts.

Status : Endangered
Location : Developed in the United States
Size : Height up to 15.2 hands (1.6m)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Perissodactyla
Family : Equidae -- Genus : Equus -- Species : E. ferus -- Subspecies : E. f. caballus

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