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The Morgan Horse
The British Morgan Horse Society
John Bulmer driving a pair of Morgans through the cider apple orchards at Monnington on Wye, Hereford.
The TV show "Watercolour Challenge" filmed an episode at Monnington recently. The contestants were brought to the location through the apple blossom in a carriage with Monnington Overture and Monnington Regent, seen driven by John Bulmer. The show was presented by Hanna Gordon. Monnington Overture and Regent more recently won the World Breeds Class at the BDS show at Smiths Lawn, Windsor and took part in the drive past for Her Majesty the Queen.
Photo credit: John Bullough

Justin Morgan was a living legend. In the manner of so many heroes, he began as an unremarkable colt and became the sire of an entire breed of horses recognised for quality and dependability.

Born in 1789, Justin Morgan started life as a rough-coated colt known as Figure. In 1791, he left Springfield, Massachusetts with his new owner, the schoolteacher, Justin Morgan, by whose name the stallion eventually became known. Although his breeding is not known for certain, (but thought to include Thoroughbred, Welsh Cob or Arab), the quality of Justin Morgan's ancestry showed in his straight clean legs, deep muscling over his quarters and shoulders, and fine, intelligent head with large expressive eyes and short, pricked ears. Add to these the quality of his movement, a thick but silky mane and tail, and a clean-cut throatlatch, and you have the conformation of the ideal light horse.

Justin Morgan also proved to be one of the greatest breeding horses of all time. As the reputation of the versatile stallion grew, countless mares were bred to him. So prepotent were his genes that no matter what type of mare he was bred to, be she of heavy draft or refined racing-type, his offspring inherited his image and abilities. While most breeds develop by breeding horses of similar characteristics to each other, Justin Morgan's ability to pass his characteristics to his offspring for generations to come allowed this single stallion to found an entire breed in his likeness. Today, every registered Morgan traces back to Justin Morgan through his best-known sons Bulrush, Sherman and Woodbury.

Present-day Morgans differ little from their mighty progenitor. The average size of a Morgan today is between 14.2-15.3 hands, with some individuals over or under. Morgan coats are predominantly chestnut, bay, black or brown, although some palomino, buckskin, and even a few grays appear in the breed. The breed's tremendous courage, intelligence, disposition, substance, and type has remained as important to breeders today as it was 200 years ago.

Whether you visit farms in the USA or here in Britain, you can see typical Morgans with the same deep bodies, lovely heads, and straight clean-boned legs.

In show rings across the world, the Morgan show horses flash by with heads high and eyes bright, their Morgan quality showing in every hair on their gleaming, muscular bodies.

Today, Morgans have few wildernesses to conquer but they still accomplish great deeds. They are loved and revered as dynamite performers in Morgan shows across the country, and as loyal, sensible mounts on hacks and bridleways; they are treasured by American mounted police squads and in therapeutic riding programs for their intelligence, soundness, and gentleness; they are winning in driving, dressage, western, eventing and endurance competitions, against horses bred specifically for these spheres; and no matter what they may be doing or the tack they wear, knowledgeable horsemen see them and know:

The Morgan legend has spread around the world and the British Morgan Horse Society was founded in 1975. The BMHS has full reciprocity with the AMHA and runs the British Morgan Horse Registry. The BMHS is committed to promoting the versatility of the Morgan horse and runs shows, clinics and events throughout the year. We know that the beauty, intelligence and willing personality of the Morgan will win you over too!

The British Equine Event

Please visit us at the British Equine Event Stand No 294

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