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Morgan horses show off in Santa Rosa May 9, 10, 11.

Morgan horses show off in Santa Rosa May 9, 10, 11

They look like runaways from a Currier and Ives print and, in fact, horses of this breed were the ones most often pictured in those quaint scenes. This month, you can see them perform and compete at the Morgan Classic Royale, May 9, 10, and 11 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa. Admission is free.

Today's Morgans are all descended from one animal, a Vermont stallion named Justin Morgan. Of mixed Thoroughbred and Arabian ancestry, Justin Morgan was a mutation, able to pass on his distinguishing characteristics to his offspring (he died in 1821).

This compact horse (15 hands high, about 1,000 pounds), once the most widely bred in the country, is making a comeback, and some 300 competitors are expected.

Events take place at 8, 1, and 7 (no evening event on Sunday). Some highlights: Friday morning, watch junior riders and early rounds of English and Western pleasure classes; at 1, the trail horse classes begin, continuing in the evening. Saturday brings trotting races (morning), driving classes (afternoon), and antique carriage events (evening). Sunday afternoon features harness and saddle races, plus a log-pulling competition.

From U.S. 101, take State 12 east to the Bennett Valley Road exit; follow signs.

Photo: Junior driver and trotting Morgan horse demonstrate carriage work in Sonoma
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Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunset
Date:May 1, 1986
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