I am happy to announce that I have completed my personal rounds of editing for The Strife of Camlann, Book 2 of The Arthurian Age series! It is now in the hands of the publisher to review and edit. I am hoping to see it released this summer!
So with a little more free time on my hands, I took a day off from my regular job and drove south to West Springfield, Massachusetts with my lovely bride. Our goal was The Greater Boston Charity Horse Show at The Big E, or the Eastern States Exposition.
Friends and mentors, Janet Morris and Chris Morris have a very handsome young stallion named Field of Honor who was there studying under expert trainer, Judy Nason of Northern Belle Stables in Newton, New Hampshire.
Field, as they call him, is a seven year old Morgan. Now, as a history buff, my ears perk up at stuff like this, because Morgans are the first horse breed originating in the US. The first, owned by Justin Morgan, was a stallion named Figure that was actually born in West Springfield, in 1789.
Morgans are an exceptional breed that competes in dressage, show jumping, Western pleasure, cutting and endurance riding. The United States Equestrian Federation states, “a Morgan is distinctive for its stamina and vigor, personality and eagerness and strong natural way of moving.” They are elegant, intelligent, friendly, gentle, and brave. All characteristics that made them popular as harness, draft, and riding horses. Their hardiness and ease of care made them especially popular as cavalry horses, and they were used extensively by both sides of the Civil War.
A USDA breeding program was established in Vermont in 1907, but it is now being run by the University of Vermont. As the use of horses declined, the breed became endangered. Today, people like Janet and Chris are hoping to preserve this special breed through organizations like Heart’s Delight Morgan Horses at The William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute.
Judy led Field of Honor through a variety of exercises, both mounted and unmounted. It was impressive to see how calm he was in new surroundings, among other people, horses and dogs. Horses can be funny about seemingly meaningless things, to us. Another horse balked at a sign on one side of the arena, even though the sign was spaced around the entire arena. Field was curious about some fake plants, so Judy let him investigate them for a moment.
I am quite a sappy animal lover, and so meeting Field and giving him a couple peppermints was a real treat for me. (Field’s assertive neighbor in the opposite stall kept kicking the boards to get our attention, so we had to give him a couple treats, too.) Field has big, beautiful, expressive eyes and is very friendly, gentle, and inquisitive. I love his shining, dark bay coat with the slight dappling on his back. He is graceful and his neck has a strong arch. If I ever have the means to own a horse, it will be a Morgan and, I hope, one like Field.
If you have any interest in horses, and especially in preserving an exceptional part of American heritage, please check out The Miner Institute. They perform a great labor of love.