Morgan Horse Breeding in Vermont 1909

The Morgan horse is one of the most purely American breeds of horses in this country. The Morgan breed dates back to the time that tried men’s souls. He is ours as a trophy of the Revolution, as the sire of the first horse that was ever known as a Morgan was captured from a British officer.

At the time this breed originated the demand was for an all-purpose horse, and how well it filled this place, every well-posted lover of horse flesh the country over knows. Numerous tests and trials established the fact that the Justin Morgan horse, he first of his breed, could out-walk, out-trot, out-run, out-pull and out-style any other horse of his day, and this same claim was made for his offspring for years to come.

The old-time Morgan was a small animal, being 14 1/2 to 15 hands high and weighing from eight to nine hundred pounds, but the interesting and incredulous tales told of his wonderful achievements, his strength, powers of endurance, speed, style and almost human sagacity would fill volumes and yet the story would not be half told.

Up to the time that Ethan Allen was dethroned as king of the turf he had been the great speed horse of the country, and even today many of our fastest, truest, handsomest and enduring speed horses carry a large percent age of the old Morgan blood, and it detracts nothing from their ability to achieve success, or their price when put upon the market.

But the Morgan horse today excels, as he did a century ago, as a general purpose horse. It is true this is an age of specialties, and we now have breeds of horses adapted to many special purposes, but withal there is a place and an increasing demand for an all-purpose horse, especially on the farm, and the Morgan breed of today comes nearer meeting the demand than anything else.

Since most breeders of Morgan horses have quit striving for extreme speed, and pay more attention to the qualities which go to make an ideal roadster, they find that they are in a field where there is little competition and not much prospect of encountering any in the near future.

Horse breeders of this class of horses are not boasting so much about what they can do on a race track in two minutes as what they can accomplish on the road in an hour or a day, and then turn around and repeat it. Much more attention is being paid to the systematic breeding and perpetuation of the Morgan horse than there was a few years ago.

The new government breeding station for the perpetuation of the Morgan horse established at Weybridge as a result of the generosity of a private citizen of Vermont, is almost completed. The Morgan horse is, perhaps, the most famous of all the products of Vermont and one of the most noted types of horse flesh produced in the United States.

Col. Joseph Battell, of Middlebury, long known throughout Vermont as the leading champion of the Morgan breed and the most extensive breeder of the horse, consulted the officers of the Department of Agriculture at Washington, and having secured their co-operation, presented to that department a tract of 500 acres of pasture and woodland in Weybridge. On this land the department agreed to establish a breeding station for the Morgan horse. Around the entire farm has been placed a wire fence six feet high.

The government has already expended about $25,000 on the Morgan horse breeding station. All the buildings are lighted by electricity and heated by steam. The new breeding station is in the shadow of the long, undulating Grand View mountain ridge, along the banks of the Winding Otter creek, and only ten miles from Lake Champlain. Weybridge is a little farming community of about 900 inhabitants, adjoining Middlebury.

About forty Morgan horses have already been placed on the farm. Among these is the stallion General Gates, which was purchased at a cost of about $4,000. More horses will be secured, and within a few months the work of scientific equine breeding will be in active progress. The Bureau of Animal Industry of the Department of Agriculture at Washington is to be the Morgan horse breeder.