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ROAD HORSE CHAMPION ROADSTER ONE OF THE WORLD'S GREATEST

DANIEL LAMBERT

By Mabel Owen


 

During the mid 1800's the Vermont fairs were often the scenes of great
rivalries between the early families within the Morgan breed. Old Green
Mountain and his get were great attractions, as were the equally stylish
Giffords, but as often as not the Black Hawks and the Lamberts topped the
day. Old Black Hawk was an extremely prepotent sire and his stock usually
resembled him markedly, both in color and style.

Toward the end of the career, his largest competition came though his
grandson, Daniel Lambert, the best son of old Ethan Allen 50, in his turn
probably the best of the Black Hawks.

Early in the 1800's America was becoming more and more conscious of the
pressing need for faster transport, both in the manner of persons as well as
mail and other light freight. The stamina and substance of the original
Justin Morgan were consistently bred to the speed and its accompanying
lightness of the Arab and Thoroughbred lines to produce speed and more speed
in road horses.

Probably the most successful cross of this type was responsible for the
truly great sire, Daniel Lambert, to whom Joseph H. Battell assigned the
number 62 in his American Morgan Horse Registry. Daniel Lambert's dam was
an exceedingly fierce bright chestnut named Fanny Cook. Bred by Montford Van
Kleek in Chester, New York, her breeding was exceptional, she was out of a
mare by Stockholm's American Star by the great Duroc, the best son of
imported Diomed. True, this appears to be a marked departure from the
general run of farm mares which form the distaff side of the earliest
Morgan pedigrees, but it marked also the earliest attempts to breed back to
the same type of blood responsible for Justin Morgan himself.

In the case of Fanny Cook, most of her extreme nervousness came from her
sire, as old Abdallah was so intensely high-strung he could never be broken
to harness and many of his get were nervous and chronic kickers. Fanny Cook
was an extremely fast mare, both at a trot and gallop, and her owner William
H. Cook, realized the horse breeder's lifelong ambition for the one "great
one" when he bred her to Ethan Allen 50 in 1857.

The following year she foaled a handsome colt later to be known as
Daniel Lambert. In color he was that light bright shade of chestnut
described most often as golden, with an even strip in his face and a white
left hind sock, of fable. His mane and tail were lighter than his dam's,
more of a flaxen color.

Morgan horses have from their inception been known as handsome
horses, but for sheer beauty, no horse could compare with Daniel Lambert
while he was in his prime.

His head was particularly excellent, its best feature being his very
large prominent eyes. More than a spread hand's breadth apart, they were the
mirror of his perfect disposition. His ears were, short, well set and always
pricked and alert. The bones of his head were prominent, the skin thin and
with a very fine coat even in the winter. His head was beautifully set on
with no thickness around the jowl to mar the perfect line from the jaw bone
back. His neck was average in length but because of the extreme slope of his
shoulder, it appeared long. This same sloping shoulder was responsible for
his very high-headed and top-lofty manner of moving.

This often led in later years to much discussion relative to his
height, as he was a big-little horse, actually little over 15 hands but
always seeming to be much more.

His back was excellent, of average length in proportion to his height,
but with exceptionally strong loins. His croup was level, with the close
Arab blood manifesting itself in his high-set tail, always flowing and
carried actively. His good breeding was particularly evident in his legs, as
Daniel Lambert had fine dense bone with well-defined tendon attachment that
never appears on the underbred animal. His hooves were perfectly round and
always a pleasure to his blacksmith as no corrective trimming or shoeing
were ever necessary to maintain the free open trot which was later to be as
much a part of his gift to the future as his matchless looks. In a day when
the speed horse was rapidly coming into golden era, Daniel Lambert was the
beau ideal.

From colthood this apparent quality was evident as he was sold when but
four months old to John Porter of Ticonderoga for three hundred dollars.
This then, at a time when weanlings customarily sold for less that fifty
dollars. Even so he was bargain priced as Mr. Porter sold him as a coming
five-year-old to R.S. Denny in Boston, Mass. for three thousand dollars. Up
to that time he had been known as the "Porter Colt" but Mr. Denny re-named
him "Hippomenes" and took him to Saratoga as his roadster.

He caused a remarkable sensation there as, even in that Mecca of fine
horses, he was the undisputed king of the road within a few days of his
arrival.

He was beautifully harness-broken and his manners in harness were
perfect. In later years he was often shown as a driving horse in what was
then the only show harness class at the fairs. It was judged on a basis of
one-third for manners in harness, one-third for speed at the trot, and the
final third for looks and showiness. Daniel Lambert was unbeatable in this
division and won even when shown some years after his twentieth year. It is
a great shame Mr. Denny would not permit him to be raced as the great
reinsman Dan Mace had driven him to a three-year-old mark of 2:42 with
almost no preliminary training. Mr. Mace was one of the greatest
race-drivers of all time and had driven Lambert's sire Ethan Allen to his
famous victory over Dexter. After giving Daniel Lambert his record at three,
Mr. Mace offered him against any three-year-old in the world for ten
thousand dollars a side. There were no takers.

While Mr. Denny owned him in Watertown, Mass., Daniel Lambert was given
very little use as a stallion which prompted his sale to Benjamin Bates who
sent him to the Cream Hill Stock Farm in Shoreham, Vt., where he made his
first full season in 1866 as an eight-year-old. He remained there for
eleven years when his owner's death occasioned his removal to the Bates farm
in Watertown, Mass. In the fall of 1880 he was sold to David Snow in
Andover, Mass, and four years later, at the advanced age of 26, he returned
to Vermont to the Breadloaf Stock Farm in Middlebury and Weybridge, the
property of Joseph A. Battell. He was in splendid health and without a
blemish or unsoundness until he died in 1889 at the age of 31. His two stays
in the Green Mountain state brought him some eleven hundred mares, and had
he remained there throughout his life, his record as a speed sire would
probably have been even greater, some thing almost beyond the imagination.
He was the sire of 106 winners of 465 races, thirty-seven of these
being within 2:30, the standard from which the Standardbred horse of
seventy-five years later receives its name. Surpassing even the above,
Daniel Lambert was also the sire of countless fine roadsters, handsome
horses to gladden a horseman's heart, yet with speed enough to pass a 2:30
horse in a road brush. Lambert's get were pure open-gaited trotters.
No boots or toe weights were ever needed. As a family, they went wide
behind with somewhat less hock action then the Denning Allens, with whom
they were in constant competition. Most were of average size, from 14.3 to
15.3, a very few larger, but all had the characteristic tremendous stride in
comparison to their height.

John W. Porter, who owned Daniel Lambert until he was a five-year-old,
bred one of his best sons, Jubilee Lambert. Out of a grand-daughter of old
Black Hawk, this horse spent most of his life in the vicinity of Cynthiana,
Ky., where he was extremely popular for the outstanding showiness of his
get, the very best of which was undoubtedly Jubilee de Jarnette.
His dam was the truly great mare Lady de Jarnette, she by Indian Chief,
a good grandson of old Black Hawk 20.

The blood of this great sire is prominent in present day Morgan Horse
pedigrees, particularly throughout the Mid-west. It also flows in the veins
of many Morgan champions in New England and as far as California; everywhere
there are good Morgan horses, there will be some tracing to that family. The
family is also the one branch of Morgan blood which appears most often in
the pedigree of the American Saddlebred horse as some of the best foundation
for this also-American breed were sons and daughters of Jubilee Lambert's
life in Kentucky.

 
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