The Morgan Horse
Morgan Horses remain unchanged in the past three centuries. Some selection has been made toward their status as a saddle horse rather than a harness horse. But, its temperament, intelligence, and soundness have not been sacrificed. Morgans are light sport horses. Morgan Horses come in the colors of bay, black, sorrel, gray, palomino, cream, dun, buckskin, chocolate, and chestnut with white, cream, gray or black mane and tail. They shouldn't have any white markings except for spots on the face.
One can easily recognize Morgan Horses by their proud carriage, upright graceful neck, and distinctive elegant head with expressive prominent eyes, firm fine lips, large nostrils, and well-rounded jowls. The ears of a purebred Morgan Horse are short and shapely, wide set, and carried alertly.
The Morgans are deep-bodied and compact with well-sprung ribs, close coupling, and strongly muscled quarters. The Morgan Horse shouldn't be higher at the croup than at the withers. The throatlatch is slightly deeper than that of other breeds. The top line of the neck should be longer than the bottom line. The legs should be straight with short cannons and a flat bone. Morgan Horses are known for their strong excellent bone and hoof quality.
The walk of a purebred Morgan Horse should be rapid, flat-footed step with a four-beat cadence and with the accent on flexion in the pastern. The trot of a Morgan Horse is a two-beat, diagonal beat, elastic and collected. The rear action of the Morgan Horse should be in balance with the front. Morgan Horses were coveted from the turn of the century for their smooth traveling, single footed gait that presented a steady comfortable ride.
Life Span: Average longevity of Morgan Horses is 30 years. Up to 45 is possible.
Height: averages between 14.2-15.2 hands.
Morgan Horses - History
The origin of Morgan Horses is obscure. They were widely used throughout the USA history for ranching, driving, pulling carts, plowing, racing, pleasure riding, but first of all Morgan Horses were used for the cavalry and made up most of the nations regiments in the Civil War.
Morgan Horses provided transport for the first settlers of the USA. The Morgan Horse can be called the first true American horse breed, the Pride and Product of America. It began with Figure, the little giant, owned by Justin Morgan in the end of the 18th century. Morgan Horses have influenced other American breeds: Standardbred, Saddlebred, Quarter Horse, and Tennessee Walker.
In 1905, the US Department of Agriculture established a breeding program for Morgan Horses. The purpose of this program was to produce horses retaining the traditional Morgan virtues while increasing in size. Today, Morgan Horses can be found in all states and in more than 20 foreign countries. The classic Morgan families include the Lippit Morgan, the Brunk, and the Western Working Family. The first annual Morgan Horses' show was held in 1973 in Detroit.
Morgan Horses - Care
Morgan Horses are comparatively easy to keep. You should only remember some general rules:
There must be a constant supply of fresh water.
Feed little and often.
Do not work immediately after feeding.
Feed according to bodyweight, age, condition, and workload.
Measure feeds by weight, not volume.
Make any changes to the diet gradual.
Keep to a regular feeding routine.
Keep mangers, and feed and water containers clean.
Feed adequate fiber: hay or grass.
Ensure regular worming.
Have teeth checked regularly.
Morgan Horses - Diet
If the horse can roam and graze freely, it will probably be healthy. The Morgan Horse will select what its body will tell it to do. But, when the horses are kept in small corrals, owners have to find out what the horses need. Grass hay (alfalfa, clover, timothy, Bermuda, prairie) should make up the majority of the horse's diet. Grain is very important for all horses, especially rolled oats. Milo, corn, and barley are also acceptable.
For protein supplements Morgan Horses need linseed, cottonseed, dried skim milk, or commercially mixed protein supplement. Also horses should have salt and minerals (calcium, phosphorus, and others) always available. But use only minerals for equine because others are dangerous. Morgan Horses need plenty of cool fresh water, especially in hot weather.
The Morgan Horse Personality
Morgan Horses possess many useful characteristics: a want to please, courage, strength, agility, speed, zest for life, intelligence, a pleasing gait, grace, and beauty. They are easy to train, reliable, loyal, tireless, versatile, and like to be with people. All that makes this breed great for beginners and children. They mature slower than other breeds (at the age of 3 or 4 years) and live longer. The Morgan Horse adapts readily to the owner's lifestyle.
The Morgan horse is perfect in various styles of riding. It is free moving and calm under western tack or elegant and aristocratic ridden in English style. A tractable temperament allows the Morgan to excel when driving in single or multiple hitches. This breed is comfortable to ride on a quiet pleasure outing or on an endurance ride. It can also be a sensible partner in ranch work. Also, it is able to enter a show ring and perform in formal riding disciplines.
This breed comprises a large number of entries at Combined Driving and Carriage events. Morgans are good in many other disciplines including Park Saddle and Harness, English and Classic Pleasure Saddle and Driving, Western, Hunter, Jumper, Eventing, Dressage, Reining, Cutting, Endurance, and Competitive Trail. Morgan Horses are rather gentle for riding lessons and can be used as therapeutic riding horses.