Happy Friday! Here is your Friday Flashback:
INTERVIEW WITH WINIFRED HORTON
Winifred “Mant” Horton of Hartland, Vermont, along with her late husband, Lyle, owned and raised Lippitt Morgans exclusively since the 1950s. At the time of the interview, Mant was 83 years old, and a wealth of information about many of the old horses. She delighted in sharing this knowledge.
Interviewer: How long have you been involved with horses?
Mrs. Horton: We had both been brought up with horses. Lyle’s grandfather owned Morgans in the Chittenden, VT area, but he called them “Giffords.” My father owned unregistered stock – I learned about all sorts of leg problems from them! After Lyle and I got married, we owned a couple horses. One was a Morgan mare.
Interviewer: I understand you were at the very first Morgan show.
Mrs. Horton: Yes, it was 1939 and it was held not far from here at the Upwey Farm in South Woodstock, Vermont. My sister-in-law, Martha Walker, rode Rhyme in that show. She was a hot mare, but Martha was an excellent rider! I didn’t show myself; mostly I helped shuttle horses back and forth from the ring.
Interviewer: How did you get started in Lippitts?
Mrs. Horton: Well, we had seen Lippitt Rob Ash, Lippitt Miss Nekomia, Sealect and a few other true-type Morgans like them, so we knew they still existed and were determined to have them for our foundation stock. Lyle remembered his grandfather’s Morgans, and wanted some like that. We heard about Robert Knight’s Green Mountain Stock Farm and so we planned to visit. I still remember that first trip Lyle and I made; it was 1949.
Interviewer: Do you remember some of the horses?
Mrs. Horton: Oh, yes! We went into the Stallion Barn. The first horse we saw was Lippitt Pegasus; he was just beautiful. Some of the others that were there were Lippitt Sam, Lippitt Billy Ash, Lippitt Selassie, Lippitt Victory, and Lippitt Rob Roy. Oh, and of course we saw the old man, Ashbrook.
Interviewer: Which one stood out for you?
Mrs. Horton: Well, it was a sight to see. They were all so nice. But after looking at all their young stock, the stallion we were really partial to was Lippitt Ethan Ash. They called him “Old Ethan.” He was Robert Knight’s favorite, too. Some people were breeding to Lippitt Sam to get more size, but we just felt Ethan’s foals had such quality.
Interviewer: What about some of the Lippitt mares?
Mrs. Horton: We saw Lippitt Sally Moro. She was a beauty. Lyle talked about her finely chiseled head and large eyes. She had a beautiful top line. The other mares we saw that day were Lippitt Gladys Moro, Lippitt Kate Moro, Alrita, Bethel, Lippitt Trilby Ash, and many others. Actually, there were many Lippitt Searchlight daughters.
Interviewer: Did you visit the Stock Farm more than once?
Mrs. Horton: Oh, goodness, probably over a hundred times over the years. You wouldn’t believe those horses. Old Ethan’s daughters, Lippitt Dusky Kate and Duplicate, were there. I’m sure I’m leaving some out. There are too many. Lippitt Beth Alert was a beauty; she was at one of the early Lippitt shows.
Interviewer: How well did you know Mr. Knight?
Mrs. Horton: We got to know him very well and enjoyed our visits. He had a very deep, gruff voice. Actually, he left a lot of he breeding decisions to Joe Boulris. Joe was a great horseman and a wonderful trainer, but I don’t know if he always put much thought into a breeding plan. Eventually, Mr. Knight started making more of the decisions.
Interviewer: You obviously must have attended the two Lippitt dispersal sales at the Stock Farm.
Mrs. Horton: I only went to the second one, in 1962. Lyle did everything to try and drag me along in 1952, but I refused to go. I just couldn’t bear to see those horses go. They’d lived there all their lives. I was happy to hear that Mr. Knight was bringing many of them back a few years later.
Interviewer: Who were some of the other Morgans that you remember and admired?
Mrs. Horton: We saw John A. Darling and his daughter, Joan Darling, after Dana Kelley got them from the Church estate. John A. was in his 20s by then. We saw Lippitt Ashmore at Frances Bryant’s. And we saw Royalton Ashbrook Darling at Dana’s as well. You know, one thing that was always frustrating to Lyle and me, is that we weren’t able to breed to some of the nice Lippitt stallions, such as Lippitt Ashmore. For one reason or another, we weren’t able to. Lippitt Darling was another nice mare we admired.
Interviewer: Who were your foundation Lippitts?
Mrs. Horton: We told Dana Kelley that if he would breed his mare, Lippitt Royalton Nekomia, to Royalton Ashbrook Darling, we would take the foal. Fortunately, it was a filly, Royalton Nekomia, although her barn name was “Stinker” from the beginning! We also owned Lippitt Ethan Ann for awhile. There was Lippitt Croydon Lady, and later my husband bought Lippitt Bruce.
Interviewer: Did you have a favorite?
Mrs. Horton: Oh, that was my old Croydon. I loved that mare. I saw her at the Stock Farm and told Lyle I just had to have her! He wanted another one, but I got my way that day. We owned Croydon for many years. Lyle’s favorite was Lippitt Bruce. I never knew where Lyle ended and Bruce began. He was so fond of that horse. There’s a stone over his burial spot on this farm.
Interviewer: Did you do much showing?
Mrs. Horton: No, but we did ride in several parades. Most often, Lyle and I enjoyed pleasure riding. Lyle also loved to drive, and we had a sleigh as well.
Interviewer: Are you still breeding today?
Mrs. Horton: Right now I own three Lippitt mares. After Lyle died in 1986, I didn’t think I would breed any more, but since 1994, I’ve raised five foals and sold four of them.
Interviewer: Do you have any final thoughts you’d like to share?
Mrs. Horton: You know, when Mr. Knight died, many breeders were concerned about what would happen to those horses because their blood was so rare. When The Lippitt Club was formed in the early 1970s, we didn’t have to worry anymore because we’ve been able to save the bloodlines. There are many young breeders coming up today who are raising some beautiful, typey Lippitts. I still enjoy going to the Lippitt show every year.
Facebook page admin’s note: Winifred “Mant” Horton passed away in 2007.
(Photo of Lippitt Bruce and Lyle Horton.)