Vermont State Mammal
Morgan Horse (common name)
Equus ferus caballus (scientific name)
The Morgan horse is a breed developed in the U.S. in the early 19th century. It traces back to the stallion Figure, who died in 1821 at the age of 32 and is now buried in Vermont. The stallion was later named Justin Morgan after its best-known owner. Beginning in the 1930s, crossing Morgans with saddlebreds was quite fashionable due to the popularity of the saddlebred and the prestige they brought in the show ring. This practice resulted in Morgans that were less and less of classic Morgan type. More than 80 percent of living Morgans today are modern saddlebred crosses. The Morgan is also the ancestor of breeds such as the standardbred and the Tennessee walker. In 1961, the Morgan horse was named the official state animal of Vermont.
ALSO KNOWN AS
The Justin Morgan horse
The Morgan is easily recognized by its proud carriage, upright and graceful neck, and distinctive head with expressive eyes. The horse has strongly muscled quarters and is refined in build, with strong limbs, an expressive face, well-defined withers, laid back shoulders, a well-arched neck, and a clean-cut head. Registered Morgans come in a variety of colors although they are most commonly bay, black, and chestnut. The breed standard ranges from 14.1–15.2 hands (4.7-5.1 ft, 1.45–1.57 m), with some individuals slightly larger or smaller.
Range: Worldwide, but mostly found in North America.
Conservation Status: More than 132,000 Morgans have been registered.
Morgan horses are domestic animals, so their behavior is dictated by human treatment. The breed is known for its versatility and excels in many disciplines. The Morgan is free-moving and calm under western tack, or elegant and aristocratic ridden in English style. The horse agreeably adapts to its owner's lifestyle. The breed's trotting ability made it a favorite for harness racing in the 1840s. Morgans were used in the Civil War as cavalry mounts. In the post–Civil War era, Morgans were used by the Pony Express and as mounts for the cavalry in the western United States. Morgans compete in many horse-riding disciplines, including in hand, English pleasure, park, western pleasure, carriage driving, pleasure driving, hunt seat, trail, roadster, parade, reining, and dressage. The Morgan is also able to perform in the Olympic and internationally recognized disciplines, which include show jumping, dressage, eventing, and combined driving.
Most horses only need quality forage, water, and a salt or mineral block. Grain or other concentrates are often not necessary. Horses prefer to eat small amounts of food steadily throughout the day, as they do in nature when grazing in a meadow or pasture.
Breeding interval: Annual
Average litter size: 1 foal
Height: At the withers, a foal has 60 percent of its mature height at birth.
Weight: A foal weighs approximately 10 percent of the dam's weight.
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Data Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Author: World Trade Press