The Morgan is an American breed that was developed in the early 19th century, making it one of the earliest horse breeds developed in the United States.

They are known for their intelligence, strength, and good temperament.

This article will tell you everything you need to know about this popular breed, so be sure to keep reading!

Morgan Horse Breed Info

Here are some of the key things you need to know about the Morgan horse:

Height (size) 14.1 – 15.3 hands high
Colors Black, bay, chestnut, gray, palomino, dun, buckskin, pinto
Country of Origin United States of America
Common Uses Combined driving, carriage events, English and Western pleasure, park under-saddle and in harness, hunter-jumper, dressage, reining, cutting, endurance, competitive trail

Morgan Horse Facts & Information (Breed Profile)


Figure, a bay colt born in West Springfield, Massachusetts in 1789, is considered the progenitor of the Morgan breed.

Even though a lot of effort has been put into it, his exact pedigree is still unclear. 

Figure was given to Justin Morgan, a teacher in Randolph, Vermont, when he was a year old to help settle a debt.

His compact muscular frame, stylish movements, and ability to outperform other horses drew the attention of local residents and quickly made him a legend.

Even though the stallion’s true name was Figure, he came to be known (as was the custom of the time) by his owner’s name, and so Justin Morgan the horse is recognized as the foundation sire for the Morgan breed.

Although Figure was widely used as a breeding stallion, only six of his offspring have been documented, and three of them were important as foundation stock for the Morgan breed – Woodbury, Bulrush and Sherman. 

Sherman was the sire of Black Hawk (foaled in 1833 he became a foundation stallion for the StandardbredAmericanSaddlebred and TennesseeWalkingHorse), and grandsire of Ethan Allen (champion trotter of his time).

Figure was kicked by another horse in 1821, which ultimately led to his death, and he was buried in Tunbridge, Vermont.

Morgans in the 19th century

The usefulness of Morgans was fully acknowledged in the 19th century, and they could be found all throughout the United States. 

Because of their speed and stamina in harness, they were often used for racing and pulling coaches. In addition, they were used as stock horses, general riding horses, and for driving. 

These renowned all-purpose work horses were indispensable in the fields and on farms.

During the California Gold Rush (1848–1855) miners used them extensively.  

During the American Civil War, Morgan horses were in great demand and were used both as mounts for cavalry and as artillery horses.

As a matter of fact, the whole First Vermont Cavalry rode Morgans.

The Morgan breed in the 20th century

The Morgan Horse Club was established in 1909, and it eventually became the American Morgan Horse Association.

Since then, various organizations in the United States of America, Europe, and Oceania have emerged.

Within the registry membership, the question of whether the stud book should be open or closed caused much debate in the 1930s and 1940s, mirroring debates within other US breed registries at the time. 

After much discussion, it was decided that effective January 1, 1948, the stud book would be closed to outside blood.

In 1945 a fictional story called Justin Morgan Had a Horse by Marguerite Henry was published about Figure and Justin Morgan.

In 1972, Walt Disney Studios released a film based on the book.

Both the film and book have come under fire for spreading falsehood about Justin Morgan and Figure and containing other historical errors.

Ellen Feld, a children’s author, is also known for her series of books about Morgan horses; the 7th, and so far last book was published in 2012.

The Morgan horse was recognized as Vermont’s and Massachusetts’ official state horse in 1961 and 1970, respectively.

It is believed that between 175,000 and 180,000 Morgans exist globally, and although they are most prevalent in the United States, populations also exist in the United Kingdom, Sweden, and other countries.

Additionally, the Missouri Fox Trotter may also trace its lineage back to the Morgan horse.

If you’re interested in learning more about this fascinating breed, keep reading!

Alternative Names



Versatile, courageous, spirited, adaptable, friendly

Physical Characteristics

The head is expressive, featuring a straight or convex profile.

The forehead is wide, and the eyes are prominent and big.

The withers are well-defined, and the shoulders are sloped.

The neck is arched and upright.

The back is short, and the hindquarters are powerful and muscled.

The croup is long.

The legs are strong.

The tail is set and carried high.

Overall, it is a compact, refined and strong breed.

Some Morgans are gaited.


Black, bay, chestnut, gray, palomino, dun, buckskin, pinto

Height (size)

14.1 – 15.3 hands high






900 – 1,100 lbs (400 – 500 kg)

Blood Type


Common Uses

Combined driving, carriage events, English and Western pleasure, park under-saddle and in harness, hunter-jumper, dressage, reining, cutting, endurance, competitive trail


Type 1 polysaccharide storage myopathy – an autosomal dominant muscle disease found mainly in stock horse and draft horse breeds.

Two coat color genes found in Morgans have also been linked to genetic disorders:

One is the multiple congenital ocular anomalies (MCOA) characterized by the abnormal development of some ocular tissues, which causes compromised vision.

The disease is non-progressive, and generally of a mild form.

A small number of Morgans carry the silver dapple allele, which causes cysts but no apparent vision problems if heterozygous, but when homozygous can cause vision problems.

There is also the possibility of lethal white syndrome – a fatal disease seen in foals who are homozygous for the frame overo gene.

Popular Traits

Very versatile



Country of Origin

United States of America


A stallion named Figure, Arabian, Thoroughbred, speculated: Welsh cob, Friesian