At ‘This Place in History’ we’re “horsing” around at the University of Vermont Morgan Horse Farm with Executive Director of the Vermont Historical Society Steve Perkins.

“It has a great history, once a breeding center for the US Cavalry and now a research center for the University of Vermont,” said Perkins.

Steve Davis, Director of the UVM Morgan Horse Farm, brought us through that history and the significance of the Morgan Horse to the state of Vermont.

“A man named Joseph Battell founded it, build his show barn in 1878. He assembled a superior group of Morgan Horses and did a lot of work breeding selectively, so the Morgan breed is extremely fortunate for his early work. He wanted it continued, so he engineered a political deal that was really quite savvy and remarkable. He gave the facility to the United States government. And the U.S. Department of Agriculture operated the facility for 40-some years, initially with a military mission. As that phased out quite quickly, it became a research station and a lot of valuable research on light horses was done here,” said Davis.

“The Morgan is the indigenous breed that cleared the fields and transported the colonists to and fro. As I understand it, young stallions that were bred and reared here were initially trained, and then sent out to military installations around the country for use on the native mares of the area. The resulting offspring would have been mounts for the calvary. So they were a major part of everything in the development of the country,” continued Davis.

“In the history of the ownership, the University is the third steward and the longest tenured steward. Their mission is to extend information about equi-culture, if you will, and the breeding of top Morgan horses and the mission of Joseph Battell, the founder, to provide superior breeding stock such as UVM Pearly to the public; and to use the facility to education visitors to Addison county, 4H-ers, youth clubs and more particularly, University students.”

The UVM Morgan Horse Farm is officially open to visitors from May through October.
“If you come here in July and August, more particular in foliage season, it’s a leading Addison county attraction,” said Davis.
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