I have always had a love for history, particularly American History. It was history that
Inspired me to get involved with breeding Morgan Horses in 1988 and it was history that
obsessed me to dig deeper into the past of this great breed of horse. The story of one
colt who was taken from Massachusetts, brought to Vermont and who became the
progenitor of a breed of horse is an amazing one. It's a story that digs deep into
Vermont's beginnings and it's a story that makes you want to continue to
search for more. One progenitor of a breed is something that has never happened
before and will more than likely never happen again. We all know that it takes two to
procreate but this one colt who was brought to Vermont by his breeder in 1792 at the
age of three created offspring after offspring in his likeness.
There are a number of "lovers" of The Morgan Horse who have spent years researching the breed to find out who owned Figure throughout his life. They wanted to know every little detail like what he did and what mares he bred. The Morgan Horse Family has quite a history since Morgan Horses were used to clear the land, the race horse of choice, were family horses and were the select mount of for the US Calvary. I love the Morgan Horse for his versatility and beauty but the frosting on the cake for me is its history. The history of Figure is a long story but difficult to research because of how differently the stories have been told and changed over the years. Hence as I was once told by a friend that the word "history" is based on the two words of "his" and "story" and yes those stories do have differences in them and those differences made finding the truth difficult.
I have been told that the history of the Morgan Horse is about the horse but the story in my mind begins with the man. I had so many questions that needed to be answered. Why did Justin Morgan the man move to Vermont? Why did he settle in Randolph and where exactly was the log cabin located that he settled in? It was known that Morgan settled somewhere on the Randolph Brookfield town line but no one has ever found the exact location. To me finding this location would give the story of the Morgan Horse in Vermont a new beginning and explain why history played out as it did for this breed of horse. It would be the location of where Morgan and his family came to, where they lived, where his wife died, a spot that he brought his colt home to, where this one of a kind colt roamed, worked and raced. It would be the location that marks the beginning of the Morgan Horse in Vermont.
For fourteen years I had organized a re-creation of the historical race in which Figure had raced two famous Thoroughbred race horses of that time, named Silvertail and Sweepstakes. Figure had gained a reputation for being able to work all day, and then win races that very same afternoon. In 1796, the rumor of the horse Figure winning all these races had reached two New Yorkers, who challenged their horses against Figure for a fifty-dollar stake, in which he beat both horses in two separate races. Figure was raced frequently on this specific dirt road in Brookfield, Vermont . That road today is known as Morgan Mile and for many years we have held races in September, trotting down that same road Figure raced.