Morgan Breed Description
|Height||14.1 to 15.2 hands high, with some individuals under or over.|
|Weight||900 – 1100 lb (400 – 500 kg)|
|Colour||Preferably dark with little or no white. Bay is most common.|
|Conformation||Compact, medium length, well-muscled, smooth and stylish. Good saddle conformation.|
|Quality||The Morgan should have a fine coat, and clean, dense bone with well-developed joints and tendons.|
|Temperament||Tractable, and spirited.|
|Action||The walk is flat-footed, elastic and rapid with a free stride. The trot is square, collected, balanced and free-going. The canter is smooth, collected, straight and easy.|
|Head and Neck||The head should be clean cut, tapered slightly from the jaw to the muzzle, of medium size. The profile is straight or slightly dished – never Roman nosed. The lower jaw is wide and clean cut, the muzzle is fine with small, firm lips and large nostrils, the ears are small, pointed, widely set and alert, and the eyes are full, prominent, dark, clear and bright. The neck is well-crested, smoothly joined to the shoulder, and deep at the point of the shoulder. The throatlatch is clean. The mane is good and full.|
|Forehand||The shoulders are of good length and slope, and they blend into smooth, well-defined withers which should be slightly higher than point of hip. From the front, the legs should appear thin and straight. From the side, the legs should appear wide and sinewy. The forelegs are short, well apart, with short muscular arms. The forearms should be wide, muscular and flat. The cannons are short, wide, and flat. The pasterns are strong, clean, medium length, and the slope of the pasterns correlate with the slope of the shoulder. The hoofs should be of medium size, nearly round, open at the heel, smooth, dense and not brittle.|
|Body||The chest has good depth and width. The back is short, broad and well-muscled. The loin is wide, muscular and closely coupled. The barrel is large and somewhat round. The ribs are well-sprung and closely joined. The flank is full and deep.|
|Hindquarters||The hindlegs should be squarely set. The hips should be well-rounded. The hip bones should not show. The croup is gently rounded with a fairly high-set, well-carried, full tail. The quarters and thighs are deep and well-muscled, with strong, muscular stifles and wide, muscular gaskins. The hocks should be wide, deep and clean. The cannons are short, wide and flat, with well-defined tendons. The pasterns are strong, medium length, and not too sloping. The hind feet should be medium-sized, round, smooth and dense.|
Morgan Breed History
The origins of the Morgan breed date back to 1789. Such precision is possible because the breed descends from one remarkable stallion who was originally named Figure, but later came to be known by his second owner’s name, Justin Morgan. It is believed that this singular horse was foaled in West Springbank, Massachusetts, of unknown breeding, and lived most of his life, and made his reputation, in the state of Vermont.
Justin Morgan was a little horse who stood only 14 hands high and weighed no more than 800 lb (360 kg). He was extraordinarily versatile, and a complete all-round work horse. He was used in harness, ploughing, and clearing woodland. He was a great runner and trotter. He was exceedingly muscular, and found fame in log pulling contests by consistently defeating much larger horses. Besides never losing a weight pulling contest, he also never lost a race under saddle or in harness. He beat the best of the local horses in quarter mile straightaway courses. He was noted for his incredible endurance and toughness. Most importantly, Justin Morgan was a prolific and prepotent sire who passed on his characteristic qualities of courage, versatility and toughness. By the time he died in 1821, he had established a definite type, which came to influence the development of the American Saddlebred, Tennessee Walking Horse and Standardbred breeds. He is the only horse ever to have a breed named after him.
Justin Morgan was handsome, stylish little stallion. He was dark bay with black mane, tail and legs. His head was clean-cut, his ears were widely set, and his eyes were dark and prominent. His body was short-backed and deep, with powerful shoulders, short legs and sloping pasterns.
The modern Morgans maintain all of the general characteristics of this incredible sire. They are most on the small side, and usually weigh 900 to 1100 lb (400-500 kg). They are endowed with the original sire’s delicate head, very heavy shoulders, wide chest, short backs, and well-muscled hindquarters. They are the epitome of versatility. Morgans are used for pleasure and work, under saddle and in harness. It is interesting to note that it was a Morgan, ridden by General Humberto Mariles of Mexico, who won the 1948 Olympic show jumping gold medal in Britain.