Thoughts From Bob Morgan of Triton Morgans

The following letter from Bob Morgan of Triton Morgans was posted on a Yahoo Morgan group, causing much heated discussion. I wrote to him to ask for permission to reprint it on for the viewers here to read. I think it has very interesting points and is very good food for thought.

I want to wish Bob and Susie Morgan the best of luck for the future and in finding good homes for their horses.Bob Morgan’s Letter:

Hello Morgan Friends.

I have been involved in the Morgan breed since 1960 when I was ten years old. My wife, Susie Parks Morgan, has spent her working life as a Morgan horse exhibitor, trainer and instructor. We have carried on the Triton breeding program started by my parents at Red Fox Stable. Because of my career and other considerations, Susie and I are suspending our breeding operation.

We will keep our stallion,Masque N Black, standing at PlayMor Farms, Lexington, KY (we think he will make a difference in the breed) but we won’t be raising our own foals for the immediate future.

Exception: our mare Futurity’s Mandolin is due in the next few days.

We are selling our horse facility and our treasured Morgan horses that we have acquired or bred over the last several years.

The horse market now is largely made up of Quarter horses (a few good ones, lots of bad ones), thoroughbreds (failed race horses) and Warmbloods (part draft horses).

The Morgan breed has been involved in an identity crisis and Civil War for most of my adult life.

I cringe when I hear Morgan enthusiasts criticize their brethren whose horses have a slightly different bloodline. 80-100 years ago the breed was hanging on by a thread. There were the old Vermont horses (Ashbrook), the government horses (General Gates, Troubadour of Willowmoor) and the Brunk horses (Senator Graham).

These lines all carry on today in the 3,000 or so Morgan foals brought into the world each year.

Are they so diffent that we shouldn’t love them all?

You Lippitt enthusiasts should check the records. In 1962, Robert Lippitt Knight showed two 2 year old colts at the National Morgan Show in New England. Their names were Orcland Bold Admiral and Lippitt Pecos. Robert Lippitt Knight was bringing Ulendon and Pecos blood into his program.

Why? I assume that he was trying to produce the best Morgans that he could. By the way, I practically grew up with Lippitt Pecos and he remains one of my all time favorite Morgans. He was a small but mighty Morgan.

Years ago I heard the debate of “Lippitt” lines versus Upwey Ben Don lines. Are they so different? Ashbrook, in almost all Lippitt pedigrees, is a cross of Ethan Allen 2nd on a mare from Ethan Allen 3rd(a son of Ethan Allen 2d). The granddam of Upwey King Benn is by Ethan Woodbury who has two crosses to Ethan Allen 2nd.

I understand having a favorite Morgan type, discipline or bloodline: Working Western, Lippitt lines, Brunk, Government, modern Show bloodlines, sport horses, etc., but why criticize the other types?

One common target of criticism is the Waseeka’s Nocturne line which crosses Brunk breeding with Upwey King Benn and Troubadour of Willowmoor, The sire line goes straight back to Justin Morgan through Sherman Morgan, Shedd Horse, Vincent Horse, Moutaineer Morgan, Knox Morgan, Senator Knox, Senator Graham, Starfire and Waseeka’s Nocturne. They are beautiful horses with great personalities. What is not to like?

Some people criticize larger Morgans.

One of the most interesting commentries I have seen was written by Bruce Burton, GO Morgans of Sarona Wisconsin. Mr. Burton analyzed the information provided by contemporaries regarding the height of Figure, the Justin Morgan horse.

“# 1 Battell was the first preson to record information about the height of “Figure” in a book. The Morgan Register, volume 1 has the Samuel Whitman ad, when Figure was 15 h as a coming 3 year old.

#2 MHR volume 1 also quotes John Woodbury, owner of Woodbury. He stated “Figure” was 15-2 h.

#3 quoted the Samuel Allen ad of 1796, when “Figure” was seven and fully grown, to be 15-3 h.”

Remember that within 3 generations of “Figure,” Morgans were the World’s fastest trotters. This made the breed famous. These were tall Morgans.

Other Morgans were crossed with smaller Canadian and Vermont stock and produced beautiful Morgans.

We should take pride in all Morgans and stop the infighting, before our breed is lost.

Good luck to all!

Bob and Susie Morgan

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