Morgan Horses

Morgan horses were loved and admired by both Almanzo and Laura, and are featured prominently in the "Little House" series. Readers are first introduced to the Morgan breed in Farmer Boy, as Almanzo longs for an opportunity to work with his father's Morgan horses, and is rewarded at the end of the book with Starlight, his own Morgan foal.

We next read of Morgans in Chapter 29 of By the Shores of Silver Lake. "Oh, what beautiful horses!" is Laura's initial reaction, and Pa affirms this by saying the Wilder boys have the finest horses in this whole country. "With all her heart Laura wished for such horses. She supposed she never could have them."

Throughout the later Little House books, this Morgan team, Prince and Lady, receive frequent mention, and in These Happy Golden Years, they and another Morgan team Almanzo purchases, Skip and Barnum, are so tied up in the budding courtship between Laura and Almanzo that when Laura announces her engagement, Ma questions whether it is the horses she cares for more than their master.

"I couldn't have one without the other," was Laura's response.

The Wilders continued to value Morgans throughout their lives, and while living in Mansfield just after the turn of the century, Almanzo purchased a Morgan horse named Governor of Orleans. He wanted to improve the quality of his neighbors' horses by breeding them with the Morgan.

Justin Morgan founded the Morgan breed with his horse Figure. The horse was born in 1789 and acquired by Justin Morgan in 1792. Figure was also known as "the Justin Morgan horse" and is sometimes referred to as Justin Morgan instead of Figure. All Morgans today are descended from this horse, and still bear his characteristics.

The Morgan is well-known for its friendliness and versatility. Morgans are beautiful horses, come in many colors, are typically about 14-15 hands. More information about the Morgan Horse can be obtained at The American Morgan Horse Association or The National Museum of the Morgan Horse.

Laura with Governor of Orleans

Below you can view a Morgan horse demonstration put on at the Wilder Farm in Malone, New York, by the Miner Institute of Chazy, New York. Watch these beautiful horses in action!

Laura Ingalls Wilder, Frontier Girl

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Rebecca Brammer & Phil Greetham
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