The Blackhawk Project
At Bare Bones Mounts, we specialize in European skull mounts. However, we are also skilled in larger-scale full restoration projects for museums and collectors, including fully articulated skeleton assemblies.
Last year, Bare Bones Mounts was contracted to complete the restoration and preservation of “Blackhawk,” a Morgan-bred horse born in 1833 and noted for his speed, symmetry, and incredible performance as a harness racer.
The elite Morgan horse line was started by Justin Morgan with his stallion named Figure, who was born in 1789. Figure, who was later renamed after Morgan himself, sired the line of horses that would eventually become the world-renowned “Morgan Horse.” These horses were used for harness racing and pulling passenger coaches in their early days, and became well known for their overall athleticism.
Colonel Joseph Battell, a native of Middlebury, Vermont, published the first Morgan Horse Registry in 1894. He donated the property, which became the U.S. Government Morgan Horse Farm in Weybridge, VT, in 1907. In 1945, the University of Vermont assumed ownership of the farm, and continues to run it as a working Morgan Breeding program, and preservation of the lineage of Morgan Horses.
Blackhawk was a famous grandson of Justin Morgan’s original horse. He is an important figure in the line of Morgan horses, who died in 1856 after siring many colts and fillies that would go on to greatness. The original skeleton was articulated and has been displayed since the late 1850’s as a memory of one of the greatest Morgan Horse stallions.
While the skeleton of Blackhawk was fully articulated, the bones were never properly preserved, and overall bone degradation was becoming a major problem. Our job was to clean the existing skeleton as much as possible, re-articulating the bones into a more anatomically correct stance. We lifted the skull to more accurately portray the head position of a Morgan horse, and applied adhesives where necessary to reinforce the original mechanical fastenings. Finally, we applied a museum-grade preservative to all the bones in the structure. Now, Blackhawk will live on as a representation of the famous Morgan Horse heritage and breeding for years and years to come.
The Morgan Horse Heritage Foundation paid for Blackhawk’s restoration. If you would like to know more about this organization, the causes it represents, or to donate to their endeavors, please click here to visit their official website.