British Morgan Horse Society
The Morgan Horse
The Morgan Horse is descended from a 14hh bay stallion foaled in Vermont in 1789 who, like in the Disney film,came into the ownership of an impoverished New England schoolteacher, Mr Justin Morgan, as part payment for a bad debt. Although Justin Morgan’s colt was of unknown breeding, his prepotency was evident, ensuring that his offspring resembled him closely regardless of the types of mares he was bred to.
The most common colours are chestnut, bay, black and brown although there are individual bloodlines with dilute genes producing palominos and buckskins. The British Morgan Horse Society, founded in 1975 by Angela Conner Bulmer has more than 800 registered pure-bred Morgans in UK.
There is also a growing registry for part-bred Morgans, Anglo Morgans and Morabs (Morgan x Arab). Pure bred heights vary from 14hh to 16hh, though part breds can be smaller and up to 16.3hh, depending on the cross. The first time many people recognise a Morgan is at a show or display. Here you will usually see them shown in traditional American saddleseat attire, in hand, ridden and driven, with riders wearing elegant saddle suits and bowler or derby hats. There are two ‘divisions’ of Morgan horse saddleseat showing classes – park and pleasure. Park horses have a more extravagant and flamboyant action, whereas, with pleasure horses, a less elevated way of going is more typical.
Morgans are also shown ‘hunt seat’, with riders in show or hacking jackets, jodhpurs and long boots, and in western tack and attire as well. However, there are many Morgans and part breds out there excelling in a variety of different disciplines, but you might not be able to tell they are Morgans at first glance!
Their attributes – stamina, tractability and mental acuity make them superb all-rounders. There are Morgans who compete, and win, at national level in driving trials, private driving, western, eventing and endurance - both affiliated and unaffiliated. Morgans and part breds are also seen in riding horse and hack classes as well as being good Pony Club and riding club mounts.
Morgans are excellent all-rounders, suitable for adults and children alike, being tough, well-balanced athletes with a willingness to work and an enthusiasm for life.