The New England Morgan Show: A Family of Horses and Their People

"Our special horses give us so much. They listen and give us unconditional love. They help us achieve our dreams and build our confidence. They make our journey through life more enjoyable and fulfilled.”
-Leslie Jacobs Baxter

Every summer since 1939, for one week in July, hundreds of horses of the Morgan breed and hundreds of their people reunite in Northampton, in celebration of family, friends who are practically family, horses that are definitely family, and some friendly competition. Publicity manager Susan Colleton, who enthusiastically and warmly spent the afternoon introducing us to everyone we saw, has been coming here since she was twelve years old. Like Susan, the riders, trainers and proud parents we met raved about the show, the breed and each other. We met world champions, a married couple who met at this show when they were kids, and teenagers love the adrenaline and are dressed in beautiful outfits that match their horse’s. Here are some things we heard, from the back of a golf cart that had two flat screen televisions:

Once you’ve seen a Morgan horse, you don’t want other horse types.

You don’t know what you’re doing fifty-one weeks of the year, but for one week, you’re sure: you’re going home.

My daughter came in first place, and her daughter came in second. They’re at six flags right now, together. The competition is serious, but it doesn’t affect the love we feel for each other.

This horse breed attracts a certain kind of person - kindred spirits, the kind of people you’ll stay in touch with for the rest of your life. The kind of people who will be your best friends and remember your birthday and what you love to do when you’re not at the Morgan horse show.

There are people from all over: Austria and Kansas, the Midwest, New England. 600 horses.

Each year, about 2.5 million in revenue for the town of Northampton is generated through the horse show - the people here go to restaurants and shop on Main street.

In her article “Fifty Years of Memories from a Northampton Stalwart” (found in the most recent edition of the Morgan Horse Association magazine), Barbara Irvine reminisces about why the show is one of the highlights of her year, year after year. “In Paris, it’s the cafe on the Rue de la Paix where it is said that you will eventually meet all whom you know - in Morgandom, it’s Northampton in July... I know my 50th Northampton will be another one to remember. The view from the ingate there has changed - and it has remained the same: great competition and great Morgans and their people.”

Susan promises that even if you come to the show not knowing anyone, you will meet welcoming people who will show you their horses, come over to where you are sitting, and start a conversation about Morgans and life. “The public is welcome to come visit, watch some events, meet some people and horses, and to come join the family!” She says, giving us a big hug before we leave.

Article by Annie Berman