COMMON HORSE BREEDS
Photo supplied by the Morgan Horse Association of Australia - Victoria ©
The history of the American Morgan horse is unusual as it can be traced
back to just one stallion, Justin Morgan who stood at only 14hh but had tremendous
strength. Originally named Figure he was renamed by his first recorded owner Thomas Justin
Morgan. It is believed that Justin Morgan had Thoroughbred, Arabian, Welsh Cob and Dutch
descendants. Despite being a small horse weighing only 386kg Justin Morgan won many
contests in log hauling against much larger horses. Because of his great strength he was
used in wood clearing, harness and ploughing work. Justin Morgan passed his remarkable
qualities on to his progeny. Three of his sons are noted for their influence on the breed.
Progeny of Sherman Morgan were excellent harness horses and influenced American breeds
like the Quarter Horse, the Saddlebred, the Standardbred, and the Tennessee Walker.
Offspring of Woodbury Morgan were in demand as saddle and parade horses and progeny of
Bulrush Morgan had great trotting speed. Many Morgan horses were used as army mounts in
the battles against the Indians. With the introduction of motorised transport the interest
in Morgan horses reclined.
In 1909 the Morgan Horse Club was founded which helped the breed to survive. Today Morgans
can be found in more the 20 countries and there are recognized Morgan Horse Clubs in
Canada, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Germany, Sweden and Italy. Despite its
small size the Morgan is very capable of carrying the weight of an adult river.
Head: expressive head; straight or slightly dished profile;
broad forehead; large, expressive eyes; short, alert ears
Neck: slightly arched, graceful
Shoulders: sloping; well defined withers
Body: deep, compact body; short back; well sprung ribs; broad
loins; deep flank; well muscled hindquarters
Legs: straight, sound limbs; flat bones, short cannons,
Feet: good, sound; dense horn
Mane and Tail: full, soft; high set tail
Color: bay, chestnut, brown and black; white markings only
permitted on face
Height: 14.1 to 15.2hh with some horses taller or smaller
Temperament: gentle, spirited
Qualities: strength, endurance, stamina, speed, light springy
Most Morgan horses are used for pleasure riding. But the
Morgan is also popular as a show horse in dressage and roadster events, like cutting and
reining and as stock horse, hunter jumper and in carriage driving competitions.
Photo supplied by the Morgan Horse Association of Australia - Victoria
Karenza Astra owned by Carmello and
Jenni Vraca Murchison - Victoria ©