Founder of the first American breed of horses — Founder of the only breed that traces to one foundation
sire — Founder of the breed which more than any other answered all the needs of those sturdy pioneers of
another day and has so ably filled twentieth century needs.
In 1789, the year George Washington became President of the United States, there was born in Springfield,
Massachusetts an insignificant colt. His pedigree is still only surmised. But he became the foundation for
the first American breed of horse. He was called "Figure", but was widely known by the name
of the man who first owned him: Justin Morgan. He was able to produce offspring remarkably like
himself, no matter what kind of mare he was bred to. He and his get worked hard during their lifetimes,
earning the reputation that they could out-work, out-race, and out-shine any horse of their day. Morgans
today trace back to Justin Morgan through his three sons: Sherman, Woodbury and Bulrush.
The history of the Morgan breed follows that of the United States. The Morgan was a popular cavalry
mount, often used by cowboys and pony express riders as well as pioneers heading west. The Morgan was the
premier trotting horse in America in the 1800’s, holding all trotting records for nearly 100 years. Morgans
were also used extensively as Government Remount horses to upgrade the quality of western horses. The Morgan
is significantly present in the history of many other American breeds, such as the Standardbred, Saddlebred,
Quarter Horse, and Tennessee Walking Horse.
Morgan qualities include endurance, hardiness, longevity, tractability, intelligence and versatility. The
original Morgan horse lived to be 32 years old - and worked every day of his life. Although "Figure"
was a bay and bays and chestnuts predominate, you can also find a rainbow of color in the Morgan breed
including blacks, buckskins, palominos and even grays.
Visit the American Morgan Horse Association's Website.