Skip to main content

Full text of "The regeneration of the Morgan horse"

See other formats


L 



KMI.M! August 18, 1910. 



= U. S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, 



BUREAU OFANjaUl INDUSTRY.-CiRCiJLAR 1o3. 

A. IX MKLVIN, CHIBF OP BUREAU. 



HE REGENERATION OF THE MORGAN 
HORSE 



BY 



GEORGE M. ROMMEL, 

Chief of the Animal Husbandry Division, 
Hnreau of Animal Industry. 




t 



WASHINGTON: 

GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE. 



1910. 



'tfwss^ - - 

University of California 

Southern Regional 

Library Facility 



THE BUREAU OF ANIMAL INDUSTRY. 



Chief: A. D. MELVIX. 
Assistant Chief: A. M. FARRINGTON. 
Chief Clerk: CHARLES C. CARROLL. 

Animal Husbandry Division: GEORGE M. ROMMEL, chief. 
Biochemic Division: M. DORSET, chief. 
Dairy Division: B. H. RAWL, chief. 

Inspection Division: RICE P. STEDDOM, chief; MORRIS WOODEN, R. A. RAMSAY, and 
ALBERT E. BEHNKE, associate chiefs. 
Pathological Division: JOHN R. MOHLER, chief. 
Quarantine Division: RICHARD W. HICKMAN, chief. 
Zoological Division: B. H. RANSOM, chief. 
Experiment Station: E. C. SCHROEDER, superintendent. 
Editor: JAMES M. PICKENS. 

[Cir. 163] (2) 

51335 10 



THE REGENERATION OF THE MORGAN HORSE. 



INTRODUCTION. 

Of the three types of light horses which American breeders have 
developed during a century and a quarter, none stands higher in 
history, judged from the interest and affection which have been 
devoted to it, none has had a more direct and lasting influence on 
other types, none, in fact, has been more uniform in type, more 
prepotent in breeding, or more nearly a fixed breed than the Morgan 
horse. 

With an ancestry which must have been of the highest merit, 
reared on the limestone and granite hills of New England, imbued 
with remarkable endurance and stamina by a rigorous but invigor- 
ating climate, these little horses seventy-five years ago yielded to 
none in popularity and held first place in the actual money value 
placed on individuals and on the service fees of sires. Fifty years 
ago Morgan stallions were received in the show rings of Kentucky 
with enthusiasm. Yet during the last twenty years the name of 
Morgan has been anathema among the horse breeders of Kentucky, 
the breed has been rarely seen in the show ring at state and national 
fairs, and the live-stock press and many horsemen of authority have 
declared the Morgan to be an extinct race. 

CAUSES OF THE DECLINE OF THE MORGAN HORSE. 

The causes of this remarkable decline in a breed of horses of out- 
standing merit are not difficult to discover. Up to the time that 
the mania for breeding extreme speed in harness horses manifested 
itself, the qualities of conformation, style, and endurance which the 
Morgan possessed were generally appreciated, and it was recognized 
that in the long run those qualities were worth more money than 
speed records. With the track records of Ethan Allen and Daniel 
Lambert before them, however, Morgan breeders began to think 
that the Morgan could be made a race horse, and the speed craze 
struck them. The decline of the Morgan horse may be dated from 
this time. It was indeed unfortunate that the old-time Morgan 
breeders did not follow the advice of Linsley in his book on Morgan 

a Thia circular is based on an address delivered before the Connecticut Valley 
Breeders' Association at Northampton, Mass., January 25, 1910. 
[Cir. 163] (3) 



horses, published in 1857. He foresaw with true intuition what 
would happen if Morgan breeders set up a speed standard. These 
were his words on this subject: 

There are some breeders of Morgan horses who, although they will not breed from 
animals decidedly inferior in form, merely because they may happen to be fast, are 
yet inclined to lay too much stress upon great speed a good quality, but one which 
we think is often purchased at the expense of qualities even more valuable. 

If animals are selected for breeding which can make the best time for a mile, we 
think the tendency will be to depreciate the value of the breed . Bred for that one pur- 
pose, they will lose some of their compactness, become more leggy and "rangy," and 
lack the stamina of the true Morgan. The general business qualities of the Morgan 
are what give him his great value. His admirable traveling gait, and his stoutness, 
courage, and endurance, are what is wanted for the road. It is not wise, therefore, to 
attempt to make him the fastest horse in the world, for in doing this we shall be very 
likely to lose sight of qualities far more important than the ability to trot a mile in 
2 minutes 30 seconds. 

This is exactly what happened, although even Linsley could 
hardly have foreseen that the effect would be almost to exterminate 
the breed. 

When the especial value of the Hambletonian and George Wilkes 
lines for speed production began to be recognized, Morgan breeders 
resorted to crosses with them, and the Morgan soon became affected 
by the change in breeding methods. The desire for greater size in 
the Morgan found its expression in similar and even more violent 
crosses. As a result we have the Morgan situation of to-day a 
few real Morgans fostered by breeders who were loyal to breed 
standards and who were not carried away by the fashion of the hour, 
and a very great many which trace to Justin Morgan and are registered 
as Morgans but are Morgans only in name. Anyone witnessing the 
Morgan exhibit at the horse show of the Louisiana Purchase Expo- 
sition at St. Louis in 1904 could not fail to be impressed with this 
fact. The real Morgan was there, but he was to a large extent 
obscured by the great number of ungainly, ill-assorted horses which 
were in type more Standardbred than anything else, but which, if 
entered in the Standardbred classes, would have received little 
attention from the judges. 6 

Following up the unfortunate effects of these violent and ill-judged 
crosses, it is not surprising that the advocates of other breeds em- 
braced the opportunity to deal the Morgan serious blows whenever 
the occasion presented itself, nor is it remarkable that, in a short 
space of time, prejudices arose against the breed, and, as has before 
been observed, many even came to believe that no such thing as a 
Morgan existed. 

a Linsley, D. C. Morgan Horses. Pp. 205-206. New York, 1857. 
& Twenty-fourth Annual Report, Bureau of Animal Industry, II. S. Department of 
Agriculture, p. 87. 
[Cir. 163] 



THE VALUE OF MORGAN BLOOD. 

The great value in which the breed was held fifty and seventy-five 
years ago need not be pointed out in detail, but a few references may 
be permitted to show that this value was an actual one and was 
admitted by horsemen generally before breeders went speed-mad. 

One of the editors of the Louisville (Ky.) Journal, who made a 
tour of the Northern States in 1845, made these statements regarding 
the Vermont Morgans : 

There is no doubt whatever of this that the breed of the Morgan horse was and is 
now, in the few instances where it can be found, far the best breed of horses for general 
use that ever was in the United States probably the best in the world; and it is remark- 
able that this breed was, and is now, known by many striking peculiarities, common to 
nearly every individual/' 

A quotation from the American Farmers' Encyclopedia, published 
in 1844 in Philadelphia, runs as follows: 

Perhaps the very finest breed of horses in the United States, when general useful- 
ness is taken into consideration, is what is commonly known in the Northern and 
Eastern States as the Morgan horse.b 

At the United States Agricultural Society's fair, held at Boston in 
October, 1855, the following honors were secured by Morgan horses 
out of a total entry of 423 animals. Three premiums offered for 
"roadster" stallions all went to horses of Morgan descent. Four pre- 
miums were offered for stallions for general use, 4 years old and over, 
all of which went to Morgans. Two premiums were offered for stal- 
lions for general use, 3 years old and under 4, of which one went to 
a Morgan. Three premiums were offered for stallions for general use, 
1 year old and under 2, of which two were awarded to Morgans. Four 
premiums were offered for "breeding mares and fillies," of which two 
were won by Morgans. Three premiums were offered for fillies 3 
years old, of which a Morgan received one. Only one premium was 
awarded for yearling fillies, and that went to a Morgan. Four pre- 
miums were offered for trotting stallions, three of which went to 
Morgans. 

The exhibition of the Morgan stallion Champion Black Hawk j\t 
the Florence, Ky., fair in October, 1855, caused one of the most re- 
markable incidents ever seen in an American show ring. The blue 
ribbon for best stallion 4 years old and over had been tied on a 
dappled-gray horse, when Black Hawk was led into the ring. The 
crowd immediately began to shout, "Take the ribbon off the gray 
horse; take it off." Accordingly, the committee did so, and placed 
the blue ribbon on Black Hawk. Local accounts state that no judg- 
ment of the committee was more heartily approved.** 

o Linsley, D. ('. Morgan Horses. New York, 1857. P. 83. c Ibid., pp. 85, 86. 
b Ibid., p. 84. <* Ibid., pp. 86, 87. 

[Cir. 163] 



Hale's Green Mountain was given the highest premium at the 
Louisville, Ky., fair in 1853 immediately after his arrival from Ver- 
mont and after having had a severe ordeal of railroad travel and pre- 
vious showing,* in a day when conditions of travel were more severe 
than now. 

In the present day nothing has done more to focus attention on the 
value of the Morgan than the record of horses of Morgan type and 
breeding in our show rings. In Kentucky the descendants of Blood's 
Black Hawk, Stockbridge Chief, and others are among the most val- 
ued horses found, and fully 10 per cent of all horses registered in the 
first two volumes of the American Saddle Horse Register trace in 
direct male line to Justin Morgan. Such horses as Drummer Boy, 
Blaze o'Glory, Glorious Red Cloud, Glorious Whirling Cloud (Don 
Edwood 27131 A. T. R.), Glorious Thundercloud (Carmon 32917 
A. T. R.), and Lord Baltimore are known to carry Morgan blood in 
their veins, and an examination of the breeding of the carriage horses 
of American breeding seen in our show rings will almost invariably 
show Morgan crosses. b 

Against all the pressure which has been driving the Morgan out of 
existence, the intrinsic merit of the breed has stood out in sufficient 
strength to make possible its regeneration if wise and broad-minded 
policies are adopted. 

It is a matter for congratulation that the decline of the Morgan 
has been checked and that measures are now under way which, if 
wisely conducted, will in time firmly establish the breed beyond pos- 
sibility of extinction. Too much credit can hardly be given the men 
who have preserved the type and the blood, giving us thereby the 
material from which to develop the modern Morgan. 

THE MORGAN OF HISTORY. 

Before discussing the best methods to adopt to restore the Morgan 
breed and place it on a firm foundation, we should consider briefly 
some of the salient points in its history, so as to learn, first, what the 
ancient Morgan type was like, and, second, what of its characteristics 
are worth preservation as being suitable for modern requirements. 

For information concerning the ancient Morgan type there is no 
authority higher than D. C. Linsley. In an exceedingly painstaking 
and thorough manner Linsley, over fifty years ago, made a study of 
Morgan history and pedigrees, which is to this day the standard 
authority on the history of the breed up to the time of its publication 
in the year 1857. No one can claim to be an authority on the breed 

a Linsley, D. C. Morgan Horses. New York, 1857. P. 87. 

& See Twenty-fourth Annual Report, Bureau of Animal Industry, U.S. Department 
of Agriculture. 
[Cir. 163] 



without having mastered Linsley's volume; and without Linsley as the 
pioneer, Battell's great work would have been well-nigh impossible 
of achievement. Linsley's "Morgan Horses" is, indeed, "the Mor- 
gan Bible." Therefore it is largely to its pages that we turn to learn 
the characteristics of the Morgan of the early day. 

THE JUSTIN MORGAN HORSE. 

Linsley's description of the original Justin Morgan is extremely 
important in view of the fact that many persons believe that the 
regeneration of the Morgan breed at this time should have as its basic 
motive the restoration of the ancient Morgan type, which means, on 
final analysis, that the ultimate aim of the movement is to make all 
Morgan horses conform as nearly as possible to the type of the origi- 
nal Justin Morgan. 

The following somewhat lengthy quotation is taken from Linsley's 
chapter on "Memoir and Description of the Justin Morgan:" 

The original, or Justin Morgan, was about 14 hands high and weighed about 950 
pounds. His color was dark bay, with black legs, mane, and tail. He had no white 
hairs on him. His mane and tail were coarse and heavy, but not so massive as has 
been sometimes described; the hair of both was straight and not inclined to curl. 
His head was good, not extremely small, but lean and bony, the face straight, forehead 
broad, ears small and very fine, but set rather wide apart. His eyes were medium 
size, very dark and prominent, with a spirited but pleasant expression, and showed 
no white around the edge of the lid. His nostrils were very large, the muzzle small, 
and the lips close and firm. His back and legs were perhaps his most noticeable 
points. The former was very short; the shoulder blades and hip bones being very 
long and oblique, and the loins exceedingly broad and muscular. His body was rather 
long, round and deep, close ribbed up; chest deep and wide, with the breastbone 
projecting a good deal in front. His legs were short, close jointed, thin, but very wide, 
hard and free from meat, with muscles that were remarkably large for a horse of his 
size, and this superabundance of muscle exhibited itself at every step. His hair was 
short, and at almost all seasons soft and glossy. He had a little long hah- about the 
fetlocks, and for 2 or 3 inches above the fetlock on the back side of the legs; the rest 
of the limbs were entirely free from it. His feet were small but well shaped, and he 
was in every respect perfectly sound and free from any sort of blemish. He was a 
very fast walker. In trotting his gait was low and smooth and his step short and 
nervous. He was not what in these days would be called fast, and we think it doubtful 
whether he could trot a mile much, if any, within four minutes, though it is claimed 
by many that he could trot it in three. 

Although he raised his feet but little, he never stumbled. His proud, bold, and 
fearless style of movement and his vigorous, untiring action liavc, perhaps, nev. r IM-.-H 
surpassed. When a rider was on him he wan obedient to the slightest motion of the 
rein; would walk backwards rapidly under a gentle pressure of the bit and moved 
sideways almost as willingly as he moved forward; in short, was perfectly Irainc.l t. 
all the paces and evolutions of a parade horse; and when ridden at military reviews 
(as was frequently the case), his bold, imposing style and spirited, nervous action 
attracted universal attention and admiration. He was perfectly gentle and kind to 
handle and loved to be groomed and caressed, but he disliked to have children about 

Linsley, D. C. Morgan Horses. New York, 1857. Pp. 131-143. 
[Cir. 10.".] 



8 

him and had an inveterate hatred for dogs if loose, always chasing them out of sight 
the instant he saw them. 

When taken out with halter or bridle he was in constant motion and very playful. 
He was a fleet runner at short distances. * * * 

Among many races of this description that he ran were two, in 1796, at Brookfield, 
Vt., one with a horse called Sweepstakes, from Long Island, and the other with a 
horse called Silver Tail, from St. Lawrence County, N. Y. Both of these he heat 
with ease. Mr.. Morgan (who then owned him) offered to give the owner of Silver 
Tail two more chances to win the stake, which was $50, by walking or trotting the 
horses for it, which was declined. * * * 

In harness the Justin Morgan was quiet but full of spirit, an eager and nimble 
traveler but patient in bad spots; and although for a long time steadily engaged in 




FIG. 1. The original Justin Morgan. (From Linsley's "Morgan Horses.") 

the heavy work of a new farm, his owner at that time informs us that he never knew 
him refuse to draw as often as he was required to, but, he pithily adds: "I didn't 
very often have to ask him but once, for whatever he was hitched to generally had 
co come the first time trying." This uniform kindness at a pull was one of the striking 
characteristics of the horse, and the same trait may be observed in the greater part 
of his descendants. "Pulling matches" and "pulling bees" were as common in 
those days as short races, and the "little horse," as he was often called, became quite 
celebrated for his unvarying willingness to do his best and for his great power at 
what is called a "dead lift." * * * 

The quietness and exceedingly pleasant temper of the Justin Morgan is strikingly 
evidenced by the fact that he was often ridden and driven by ladies. A lady of St. 
[Cir. 163] 



Johnsbury once told us she remembered his appearance perfectly and had repeatedly 
ridden him, when a girl, to balls and other parties, and spoke with much enthusiasm 
of his noble appearance, his high spirit, and perfect docility. 

It is exceedingly difficult to obtain accurate information respecting the changes 
in owners that occurred to the horse at different times. To account for this uncer- 
tainty, we must consider that, his fame has been almost entirely posthumous: that 
although the champion of his neighborhood, he was little valued on account of his 
small size; and it was not until after his death and his descendants were exhibiting 
the powers of their sire, in speed, strength, and endurance in almost every village 
in eastern Vermont, that people began to realize they had not properly appreciated 
him. * * * 

At 29 years of age, no cause need be assigned for his death but the ravages of time 
and the usual infirmities of years; but old age was not the immediate cause of his 
death. He was not stabled, but was running loose in an open yard with other horses, 
and received a kick from one of them in the flank; exposed without shelter to the 
inclemency of a northern winter, inflammation set in and he died. Before receiving 
the hurt which caused his death he was perfectly sound and entirely free from any 
description of blemish. His limbs were perfectly smooth, clean, free from any 
swelling, and perfectly limber and supple. Those persons who saw him in 1819 and 
1820 describe his appearance as remarkably fresh and youthful. Age had not quenched 
his spirit nor damped the ardor of his temper; years of severest labor had not sapped 
his vigor nor broken his constitution; his eye was still bright and his step firm and 
elastic. 

Justin Morgan's good qualities were transmitted not only to his 
sons but to their sons and grandsons to such a degree that where 
proper matings were made, according to the type, Linsley found 
young colts that closely resembled him "in all respects except size, 
in which there has been a decided increase." 

The horse possessed that essential qualification of a great sire 
impressi veness. His blood "bred on," destined to found a family 
and a breed. Such 'a sire was Hambletonian, such was George Wilkes, 
such were Denmark and the Darley Arabian. 

THE MORGAN OF LINSLEY's DAY. 

The Morgan horse of Linsley's time was far more common than the 
Morgan of to-day, although the breed was even then beginning to 
be affected by the tendencies which in a comparatively short time 
threatened it with extinction. The small size of the original Morgan 
was undoubtedly objectionable, but, in Linsley's opinion, it was 
being improved in his time. He gives the height of six grandsons 
of Justin Morgan as ranging from 13.3 to 15 hands, with weights 
varying from 1,000 to 1,075 pounds, and states that 'JJ Morgan 
stallions exhibited at the I'nited States Agricultural Society's sho\v 
held in Boston in October, 1855, averaged 1,040 pounds in weight. 
This Linsley regards a> a fair average of the Morgans of his time and 
as proof that the size of the breed had been increased. 6 

a Linsley, D. C. Morgan Horses. New York, 1867. P. 146. & Ibid., pp. 179, 180. 

[Cir. lii.-.l 



10 

A further quotation from Linsley on the size of Morgans fifty years 
ago is both important and interesting. 

The average height of Morgan horses may be stated at from 14 to 15i hands. There 
are a few that will fall below 14 hands, but the number is very small, and there are 
also some that will exceed 15 hands, but it is by no means common, and in such 
cases it will generally be found that the animal has but a small amount of Morgan 
blood. Their weight may be stated to range from 900 to 1,100 pounds, the usual 
weight being about 1,000; any great deviation from this weight should induce the 
suspicion of a large infusion of other blood, although exceptions may and doubtless 
do occur, in the case of animals that can show a good pedigree; still they must be 
considered as the exception to the rule, and not the rule itself. 

BEST METHODS TO REVIVE THE BREED. 

In view of the widespread belief that the Morgan breed should 
be revived and made once more an important factor in the horse 
industry, it is not surprising that opinions differ as to the best methods 
to adopt for this purpose. There is little if any question that the 
revival of the breed can be accomplished; enough material of the 
type, fixed by inheritance, is available for this. The question seems 
to be whether an exact revival of the ancient Justin Morgan type 
should be attempted, or whether we should take the best of the 
ancient type, improve it, and make it conform as closely as possible 
to modern requirements. 

SHOULD THE JUSTIN MORGAN TYPE BE ADOPTED ? 

Let us consider again the qualities which made Justin Morgan and 
his sons famous. A further reference to Linsley shows that the 
qualities of Justin Morgan which he regarded as worth preserving are 
largely the qualities that make the Morgan valuable to-day, and 
the faults which the horse had would be regarded as faults to-day 
when found in Morgans. "His compactness of form, his high and 
generous spirit, combined with the most perfect tractability; his 
bony, sinewy limbs, his lofty style, and easy but vigorous action'' 6 
are all points of value. Every one of these is admitted by horsemen 
as fundamental, with the possible exception of the action, on which 
there is a difference of opinion, some breeders wanting the highest 
and most brilliant action possible and others simply "easy but 
vigorous action." Justin Morgan's prepotency as a sire was an asset 
of the highest value; that also is universally regarded as fundamental 
in a sire. 

The qualities generalized above are, in the writer's opinion, the 
qualities of Justin Morgan which should be perpetuated in the modern 
Morgan, with the single exception that the writer confesses to a desire 
for higher and more brilliant natural action than had the original 

a Linsley, D.C. Morgan Horses. New York, 1857. Pp. 70, 71. & Ibid., p. 146. 
[Cir. 103] 



11 

Morgan. Linsley asserts that although Justin Morgan raised his feet 
but little, he never stumbled; nevertheless he recognizes the fact that 
a horse that was very low in action was likely to stumble, and remarks 
upon the sure-footedness of the original Justin Morgan in spite of 
this handicap. This sure-footed ness is a present Morgan character- 
istic, but one can not be certain that the sure-footedness will always 
be present when handicapped by very low action. 

Justin Morgan "had a little long hair about the fetlocks and for 
2 or 3 inches above the fetlocks on the back side of the legs." b Linsley 
congratulates the Morgan breeders of his time that "the present 
Morgans have not so much of the long hair of the Justin Morgan on 
their legs. This is an improvement, as the long hair on the legs is 
unsightly, inconvenient, and in no sense useful." One still sees this 
peculiarity occasionally, but no case comes to mind where a Morgan 
which has it is more highly valued on that account, even by the 
most enthusiastic advocates of the "ancient" type. 

Linsley also explains the greater size of Morgan mares in districts 
remote from market as due to the fact that buyers had not reached 
such localities to purchase the larger mares. He deplores the fact 
that farmers allowed themselves to be tempted by high offers to sell 
the largest mares. d 

That we should adopt the original "ancient" Morgan type in its 
entirety seems little short of folly. Linsley himself admitted that 
Justin Morgan possessed faults; he was too good, a horseman to 
imagine that such a thing as an absolutely perfect horse ever existed, 
and he warned breeders not only to avoid breed faults, but by intel- 
ligent breeding to improve and add to the breed's good qualities. 

THE IMPROVED TYPE MUST CONFORM TO MARKET REQUIREMENTS. 

The writer has no intention of drawing a ridiculous picture of the 
original Morgan horse. He merely desires to point out the mistake 
which would occur if well-meaning people succeed in perpetuating 
manifest faults. Justin Morgan's good qualities far outweighed his 
poor ones, yet it is doubtful if a competent judge would consider him 
in a modern show ring. His small size, the hair on the fetlocks, and 
his low action would be regarded as objectionable by any fair- 
minded critic. It is no discredit to the horse to say this. He 
belonged to his time and he filled his niche. It was by his pre- 
potency, his influence as a sire, that he created a place in horse 
husbandry. But if Justin Morgan were reincarnated to-day he 
could not fill this place. In short, the blood of the horse, as shown 
in his descendants, is greater than the horse himself, and the story of 

a Linsley, D.C. Morgan Horses. New York, 1857. P. 132. e Ibid., p. 181. 
b Ibid., ']>. 182. ''Ibid., ]>. 208. 

[Mr. 1C,",! 



12 

Justin Morgan is a repetition of that of almost every other threat sire 
known to the breeders of live stock. 

Let us illustrate this point in the history of another breed. The 
Percherons of fifty years or more ago were mainly quick-moving, 
light-draft horses, known in France as "diligence" horses, and were 
largely used to draw stage and mail coaches. Indeed, the earliest 
American writer on the Percheron horse used them to draw heavy 
carriages. DuHays himself advocated keeping pure the three types 
of the original Percheron horse the light-draft type, the heavy-draft 
type, and the intermediate type. 6 Yet what consideration would be 
shown a light-draft Percheron, or even one of the intermediate type, in 
our modern show rings ? The improvement of the breed has carried 
its standard as a draft horse far beyond that of its progenitors. Yet 
who may deny the debt the breed owes to the good qualities of 
those progenitors? 

Again, the forebears of our modern Hereford cattle were huge 
animals, often gray -faced and speckled-faced, with a very heavy 
forehand and light hindquarters, but they were wonderful grazers. 
The type was one which would cause laughter if seen in a modern 
show ring, but who doubts that the remarkable vitality and good 
grazing qualities of the modern American Hereford are due to inherit- 
ance from the now obsolete type from which it descended ? 

It is so in breeding live stock of any kind. Improvement must 
be made, or the breed dies out. Breeders must set for their ideals 
higher standards than those of the past or even of the present, or 
retrogression is inevitable. Linsley held similar views and counseled 
breeders to improve their Morgans. At the time he wrote he says 
that "it can hardly be questioned that a general improvement has 
been steadily going on in the character of our horses." c 

Improvement should be carried out, however, in such a manner that 
the good qualities may be retained and the undesirable ones elimi- 
nated. To adopt size in Morgans as the one great thing to be obtained 
would be as unwise as to adopt the exact type of Justin Morgan 
or to set up extreme speed as the sole standard. Linsley, referring 
to this subject, recommends that the Morgan be brought up to the 
standard of size which he set forth (14 to 15.2 hands, weighing from 
900 to 1,100 pounds), but not at the sacrifice of any of the valuable 
qualities already present. d 

The improved type of the Morgan horse must be based on standard 
market requirements for horses known in our show rings by the 

W. T. Walters, of Baltimore, who translated Charles DuIIays's work on "The 
Percheron Horse" for the Orange Judd Company in 1867. 
ft See Walter's translation, 
c Linsley, D. C., Morgan Horses, p. 182. 
<*Ibid., p. 214. 
[Cir. 163] 



13 

somewhat misleading term of "heavy-harness horses." This does 
not mean a draft horse, as many think, but may be roughly defined 
as a horse which wears the heavy harness used in drawing a gig, 
phaeton, victoria, or similar vehicle, as distinguished from the light 
harness with breast strap collar used in drawing a road wagon. The 
type is a horse of stylish carriage, good length of neck, sloping 
shoulders, high withers, short, close-coupled back, full hips and 
quarters, high set, smartly carried tail, and round, compact con- 
formation, with an abundance of quality and finish and as much 
natural action, endurance, and speed as possible; the action at the 
walk should be rapid, straight, and true, and nothing but pure 
trotting action should be tolerated, without the least tendency to 
pace. The Morgan should not under any circumstances be made a 
race horse; that experiment was tried once, and should now be con- 
sidered an almost disastrous failure and the incident closed ; but the 
endurance of the Morgan and his ability to stand driving for long 
distances at a smart pace are highly desirable qualities and should 
be preserved. It is doubtful if the Morgan will ever be a producer of 
brougham horses, except by crossing. 

BREEDING METHODS. 

The methods of breeding used to bring about the regeneration of 
the Morgan type will need to be very carefully followed with regard 
to an increase of size. In the Department's work at the Morgan 
Horse Farm, Middlebury, Vt., the brood mares average 15.0J hands 
in height and 1,050 pounds in weight. General Gates, the leading 
stallion, stands 14. 2 a hands and weighs 1,000 pounds in breeding 
condition; his 4-year-old son, Red Oak, out of a large mare of excellent 
Morgan breeding, stands 15.0} hands and weighs 1,000 pounds. 

At this time it would appear safest to advise the selection of 
horses of Morgan breeding which show the closest conformity to the 
type, and to rely on selection to increase the size. The Department 
has tried the experiment of crossing General Gates on mares of Ken- 
tucky breeding whose dams were strong in Morgan blood. Thus far 
the results have been highly satisfactory, but the experiment has not 
progressed far enough to enable us to advise breeders to make such 
crosses. As a rule, the average breeder can not afford to experiment 
with out-crosses. 

Blood lines must mean type-producing lines. The safest standard 
for a breeder to adopt is to confine his operations as far as possible 
to Morgan blood lines, rigidly eliminating every animal which is 
not of Morgan type, or which is unsound, or shows the slurhtrst 

a Erroneously reported as 15 hands in Twenty-fourth Annual Report, Bureau of 
Animal Industry, U. S. Department of Agriculture. 
[Cir. 1C3] 



14 

tendency to pace. Blood lines can not yet be drawn hard and fast 
in Morgan breeding. We must select type first of all, and by so 
selecting we will with each succeeding mating intensify the type and 
improve the pedigree. If the Morgan horse is to be regenerated, 
horses must be bred, not pedigrees. To breed horses which are in 
themselves good requires a comprehensive knowledge of horses and 
much more than average ability as a breeder; almost anyone can 
breed horses of good pedigree if he has the money to buy his founda- 




FIG. 2. A modern Morgan. Stallion General Gates (666) at the head of the stud, United Slat* 
Horse Farm, Middlebury, Vt. 



Morgan 



tion animals. The test of the worth of a pedigree is the animal it 
produces. It follows, therefore, that a consideration of pedigree by 
a judge in the show ring is a reductio ad absurdum. 
Approved : 

JAMES WILSON, 

Secretary of Agriculture. 

WASHINGTON, D. C., June 17, 1910. 

[Cir. 103 J 

o 




University of California 

SOUTHERN REGIONAL LIBRARY FACILITY 

405 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024-1388 

Return this material to the library 

from which it was borrowed. 



NOV 0.5 

WKI 
DEC 09 



)9Z 
[^RECEIVED 



UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 
LOS ANGELES 

JUL301969 

LIBRARY 
GOVT. PUBS. SERV.