Justin Morgan Had a Horse by Marguerite Henry tells the story of a horse named Little Bub, the father of the American Morgan horse breed. He's owned by a schoolmaster and singing teacher named Justin Morgan. Little Bub later inherits his owner's name. Justin Morgan Had a Horse is a true story. RileyAnn read Justin Morgan Had a Horse through the Beautiful Feet History of the Horse guide. The following is her narration...
Justin Morgan was a traveling teacher in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Farmer Beane owed a debt to Justin Morgan. When Justin Morgan went to collect his debt, Farmer Beane didn't have the money so he gave Morgan his two colts, Ebeneezer and Little Bub. One of Morgan's pupils, Joel Goss, went along with Morgan to collect the debt because the school master lived with Joel's family.
When they got back to Joel's house, Joel's father didn't want to board Justin Morgan nor his horses anymore. Morgan moved out, but before he did, he asked Joel to break Little Bub because he needed to sell him to get money. Joel reluctantly agreed. One day while Justin Morgan was teaching, a man came to school and wanted to rent Little Bub for one year to clear his land.
Meanwhile, Joel's father apprenticed him for seven years to Mr. Chase, a miller and inn keeper. While men were waiting at the mill for their lumber to be sawed, they often had pulling matches. Men bet on their favorite horses or oxen and whoever won got money. One day when Joel was working at the mill, Little Bub's renter, Mr. Evans, came in with Little Bub to have logs sawed. When he arrived, the men were having a pulling match. None of the big work horses or oxen could pull the stout log. Evans stated that Little Bub could pull the log. All the men thought it was a joke, but Little Bub proved them wrong when he not only pulled the log, but with three men on it.
After the match, Little Bub's fame spread all over Vermont. When the year's rent was up, Justin Morgan got Little Bub back and he used him on his singing circuit traveling from town to town giving children singing lessons. He continued to compete in pulling matches and won many races, eventually going on to beat two of the finest Thoroughbred horses. Folks paid a lot of money for Little Bub to sire their foals.
After Justin Morgan died and Joel's apprenticeship was done, Joel tried to find Little Bub, who's new name was changed to Justin Morgan after his previous owner. When Joel tried to buy Little Bub at an auction, he failed and felt quite miserable. Shortly after, the War of 1812 broke out and Joel enlisted to help the wounded horses, unsuccessfully hoping to find Little Bub in one of the battles.
One cold night after the war, when Joel was a grown man, he and his friend, were on their way to a meeting house to discuss a new library. Joel heard something in the wind and he thought it was Little Bub's whinny. He followed the sound to Mr. Chase's inn. Joel found Little Bub in a team of six horses parked outside the inn. Joel went inside to find Little Bub's owner because he wanted to buy him. Joel borrowed money from Mr. Chase and purchased Justin Morgan, formerly known as Little Bub.
During a parade for James Monroe's inauguration as president, Monroe's horse got a bumble bee in his ear and started to buck. James Monroe quickly dismounted his horse and needed to find a new one to ride. Joel and Justin Morgan lined up with other horses and their riders to see which horse the new president would select. James Monroe picked Justin Morgan. At the end of the story, Joel Goss declares that Justin Morgan is an true American.
For additional information on the BF Horse study, you can check out a BF History of the Horse Lipizzaner post here. Justin Morgan Had a Horse is also a Sonlight recommendation.