The years shortly after the final dispersal of R. L. Knight's herd in 1962 constituted the last brush with extinction for the purely bred Morgans of old Vermont type. Many of Knight's breeding stock were purchased by farms which used them to return Morgan type to their outcrossed herds. Others went quietly to small breeders who were determined to breed them pure.
In 1971, a small group of New England breeders and admirers of the "ancient-type" Morgans put on an exhibition in Tunbridge, Vermont. In 1973, they returned with more people, horses, and enthusiasm. Shortly after this event they decided to organize formally, and The Lippitt Club came into being.
Today's Lippitt Club activities are designed to promote its objectives through educational and recreational means. Among these are annual shows held in New England and the Midwest, selected competitive trail rides and clinics, the Lippitt of the Year Award, the Allen's Major Award, and the saddle/harness log program. The Club has also sponsored the popular Justin Morgan Standard Class at many all-Morgan and Open shows. The Archives Committee does invaluable work researching, discovering, and preserving records and pictures of horses of interest to the Lippitt breeder. The Club maintains a database of all Lippitts from the Foundation Stock to the present, and publishes this information periodically in The Lippitt Report, to assist pedigree research.
The Lippitt Club strives to create an interesting, friendly, and informative support system for the Lippitt breeder and admirer. Our goals are "to preserve the genetic purity and original type that have been achieved through inbreeding and linebreeding the Lippitt Morgan" and "to improve, promote, and perpetuate the Lippitt strain of Morgan."
Membership is open to anyone interested in these goals, whether or not he or she owns a Lippitt Morgan.
Several members have privately created unsanctioned but welcome additions to the literature currently available on the Lippitt Morgan. We welcome and appreciate the efforts of many of our members who have the benefit of our precious Lippitts at heart. All information available is just another fine example of the unselfish devotion of our members to the Lippitt Morgan."
* To preserve the genetic purity and the original type that have been achieved through inbreeding and line breeding the Lippitt Morgan.
* To improve, promote, and perpetuate the Lippitt strain of Morgan.
* To cooperate with the A.M.H.A. Inc. in promoting the Morgan.
* To provide a united voice and effort in support of the Lippitt Morgan.
* To promote good fellowship and sportsmanship among Lippitt Club members.
Membership in The Lippitt Club Inc.:
Your annual membership provides a wealth of information throughout the year and includes:
The Membership Directory, including a current record and historical documentation of our Lippitt Morgans
The Lippitt Club News, providing farm news, informative articles, and an important advertising vehicle for the promotion and sale of our Lippitts
We currently sponsor two shows annually:
The Lippitt Country Show, held in Vermont since 1975
The Wisconsin Lippitt Morgan Show, annually in the MidWest
Profile of a Lippitt
The Lippitt is a unique horse: handsome, typey, and versatile. It is a member of a strain of Morgans that has no 20th century outcrosses to other breeds, resulting in the highest percentage of the original Morgan blood available today.
The term "high percentage" refers to the concentration of blood achieved by linebreeding to the original Justin Morgan ("Figure"). A careful study of Lippitt pedigrees illustrates the intensity of this breeding technique as practiced by the early Morgan breeders, and because the Lippitt has been linebred for generations, its unique Morgan qualities have been reinforced.
For years the Lippitt has demonstrated the ability to thrive on simple living conditions, working hard and requiring a minimum of pampering. The early Vermonters valued their "big little horse," for the Morgan accomplished whatever was asked of him: clearing land, driving, performing in parades, or racing down a country road. The Lippitt, who learns quickly and loves to try new things, is truly like his early ancestors.
The ideal Lippitt Morgan ranges in height from 14.1 to 15.1 hands. He has a short head, great width between the eyes, and a well-crested neck of medium length, which comes out of the top of a long, well-laid-back shoulder and blends smoothly through the withers into a well-sprung, deep body. The back is short and smoothly joined to the hindquarters; the croup is long, wide, and slightly sloping, balancing the front quarters. The legs have long forearms, thighs, and gaskins, and short cannons, with medium length pasterns corresponding to shoulder angle. A compact horse with substance of bone combined with refinement, spirited yet controllable energy influences his powerful, rapid, and elastic gaits.
The goal of today's Lippitt breeder is the perpetuation of those characteristics that have been the hallmark of the Morgan breed for over 200 years.
Green Mountain Morgan (Hale's) #42, foaled 1834
For many years considered the ideal Morgan type
History of the Lippitt
The Lippitt is descended through a "cornerstone" stallion, Ethan Allen 2d #406, foaled in 1877 and bred by the Peters family of Bradford, Vermont. Every Lippitt shows numerous crosses to this great stallion. He in fact bears the same relationship to the Lippitt as the original Figure does to the entire Morgan breed.
Ethan Allen 2d remains a symbol of the fundamental precepts of Morgan breeding for the Lippitt Club, tracing back to Figure in a direct line of descent. This direct line was almost lost to us on several occasions, and preserving it is as fascinating as the horse itself.
The early 1900's were the darkest days for the Morgan horse. As the automobile arrived, the need for harness or road hack horses disappeared. Only the U.S. Government Farm, with its program of outcrossed Morgans, and a few dedicated breeders kept the Morgan breed from extinction. When Mr. A. Fullerton Phillips came to Vermont in the early 1900's to raise Morgans, he had a difficult time finding the pure-blooded Morgans. Only in eastern Vermont was he able to find individuals with the pedigree and type which he felt represented the early Morgans. His program produced a wonderful herd, including the legendary Ashbrook, which was admired and respected by many of his comtemporaries. About 10 years into his program, a tragic lightning strike killed 12 of his precious broodmare band. Although many others survived, it was said that he died of a broken heart three years later.
In 1921, Mr. Robert L. Knight of Rhode Island purchased the Green Mountain Stock Farm in Randolph, Vermont. Six years later, he purchased from Mr. Phillips' estate. These horses might have been lost to us forever had it not been for a nameless feed delivery man who persuaded Mr. Knight to save the Phillips breeding program. These horses, as well as Morgans bought that same year from other sources, were to become the foundation for his "Lippitt" breeding program.Lippitt Foundation Stock Chart
The Lippitt Club has taken its name from Mr. Knight's breeding prefix, because in the early 1970's the name Lippitt was still closely identified with "old type." It is also a fitting tribute to Mr. Knight for the major role he played in saving the traditional Vermont Morgan from extinction. The Lippitt Club recognizes many horses of the old bloodlines, however, which do not necessarily carry the Lippitt prefix. Other bloodlines, such as those of Sealect, Ethan Eldon, and John A. Darling, show the same origins and are considered Lippitts by The Lippitt Club. On the other hand, Mr. Knight occassionally outcrossed to other Morgan strains. The Lippitt Club does not consider the produce of these matings to be full Lippitt, despite the fact that they carry the Lippitt prefix.
Robert L. Knight's 40-year breeding program established a recognizable herd with a high concentration of clean-blooded Morgans. As a result, today's Lippitts tend to look, as well as act, like the legendary Figure.
Lippitt mares have also been impressive within the Morgan world. The famous Lippitt Miss Nekomia competed in six Vermont 100-mile trail rides, placing in three. At the National Morgan Show in 1947, she won the Mare In-Hand Class and also proved herself a producer of champions. Among her famous offspring were Dyberry Billy, Bob, and Buddy - sires of many outstanding endurance athletes.
Donald, whose head portrait appears in our Club logo, was one of the most famous Morgans of his day - a constant winner in the show ring and considered by many to be the handsomest Morgan alive at that time.
Lippitt Ethan Ash, by Ashbrook, sired such outstanding stallions as Lippitt George, Lippitt Ashmore, and Royalton Ashbrook Darling. Dyberry Ethan sired the show champions Moro Hills Adonis and his full brother, Moro Hills Gay Ethan.
Sealect was known not only for his showiness, but also for his beauty and a good-natured willingness to please. His equally showy son, Cornwallis, sired the great Allen's Major, who usually left the ring with a blue ribbon.
Another male line is that of Ethan Eldon, himself the sire of the stallions Nabob Morgan, Royalton Bob Woodstock, and Trilbrook Joel - all sires of champions today.
Lippitt Kate Moro, when crossed with Mr. Knight's favorite personal driving horse, Lippitt Ethan Ash, produced the universally admired Lippitt Duplicate and Lippitt Dusky Kate, who won the Mare Championship at the 1952 National Morgan Show. Duplicate was also a performance winner under saddle along with her full brother, the In-Hand Champion Gelding Lippitt Ethan.
Heritage Ethan played Figure in the working sequences of the Disney film, Justin Morgan Had a Horse. This versatile gelding was by Dyberry Ethan, out of Lippitt Tilly. The list of Lippitt greats has just begun and is continually growing longer and more impressive.
Contributions to the Morgan Breed
Lippitts have been bred for the traits which were highly valued in the early Morgans. The Foundation Stock had been linebred for over 100 years using bloodlines containing the highest percentage of Figure's blood, resulting in a highly prepotent horse. One major value of linebreeding is the possibility for a superior product in an outcross to another strain. A "pure" line becomes the starting point for any hybrid breeding program: when two linebred individuals are crossed, there is a predictability in genetic makeup of the offspring that allows selection for a superior animal. Indeed, many out-standing Morgans of the last 50 years have been the product of a cross to the Lippitt line.
The Lippitt's uniquely pure pedigree, with its potential to lend vitality to outcrosses, is high commendation. The fact that he is also a beautiful, useful Morgan horse may simply be enough for his owner.
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