FAQ - Foundation Morgan Horse Breeders


Foundation Morgan Horse:

The term Foundation Morgan Horse has popped up within the last 10 years (or so) as a reference to the original Morgan Horse, but what exactly does the term mean?

It appears the specific inclusion of “Foundation” was added in an article titled, “What is the Morgan Horse?” by Ina Ish.  We tracked down that article on the Livestock Conservancy website.  In the article, Ina Ish links the term Foundation to Traditional.

Narrowing this further, Ina Ish specifically defined Foundation Morgans as “those with little or no non Morgan blood” while the “Non-Foundation Morgans have a much higher amount of non Morgan blood.”

Basically, a Foundation Morgan Horse is as close to pure Morgan as possible.  Today, we commonly reference the Livestock Conservancy’s definition of the Traditional (aka Foundation) Morgan Horse to be a Morgan Horse with pedigrees that are absent of outcrosses after 1930.

In addition, a true Morgan can also trace genealogy to the original Morgan horse, named Figure, through one of the three sons – Sherman, Woodbury, and Bulrush,  Breeding between these three lines led to four main Foundation Morgan Horse lines referenced as Lippitts, Lamberts, Government, and Working Western Families (you’ll see other names that may fall in one of these main lines, like our friend Wendy LeGate over at OGO Foundation Morgan Horses).

There are some breeders in the community that specifically believe Foundation Morgan Horses must be 100% Morgan blood in order to be “Foundation”, but we can see by the original definition from Ina Ish that this is not the case.  For horses that are mostly Morgan blood but still have a little non Morgan blood, this is now referred to as High Percentage Morgan Horses.

High Percentage Morgan Horse:

Even though Ina Ish’s definition of the Foundation (aka Traditional) Morgan Horse technically includes “little…non Morgan blood”, we break out this definition because many in the community prefer to define 100% versus non 100%.  Thus, we need to know the percentage of Morgan Horse that qualifies as a High Percentage Morgan Horse.

For this definition, we head on over to Cornerstone Morgan Horse (a 501c3 Non Profit dedicated to preserving Foundation and High Percentage Morgan Horses).  According to Cornerstone, a High Percentage Morgan Horse has at least 97% or more Foundation breeding.  If you have a Morgan horse and are not sure of the percentage, head on over to the Cornerstone Morgan Horse website for details on how to determine the percentage.