Friday, May 25, 2018

Happy Birthday, Lippitt Morman

May 30, 1939 was the birthdate of Lippitt Morman, the chestnut Morgan stallion who inspired my favorite Designers' Workshop Hagen-Renaker horse figurine: the B-704 "Lippet."

Hagen-Renaker B-704 "Lippet" in gloss brown (Fall 1983) and matte palomino (Spring 1959).

The HR "Lippet" (as the company spelled it) was first issued in Spring 1959 through Spring 1974 in matte chestnut and matte palomino, then again from Fall 1983 to Spring 1986 in matte and gloss dark bay/brown.  I had a chance to see a variety of these colorways at the recent Clinky Mayhem 2018 event in Southern California.  They had all belonged to the late collector Karen Grimm of Black Horse Ranch.

Examples of the HR B-704 Morgan stallion from the Black Horse Ranch collection.
As was  the case with most of Maureen Love's equine designs for Hagen-Renaker, the real horse was the inspiration for the figurine. Lippitt Morman was bred by the legendary Robert Lippitt Knight.  The stallion's name was a combination of the names of his sire, Mansfield, and his dam, Lippitt Kate Moro.  Knight sold him to a Canadian, W.A. LeBoeuf, in 1943, and in 1946 they became famous for winning the Hundred Mile Trail Ride in Vermont.  

LeBoeuf sold Lippitt Morman to California Morgan breeder Roland Hill in 1947, and shortly thereafter Hill sold the chestnut stallion to his friend, horse rancher Merle Little, who lived not far from Hagen-Renaker and was a friend of the Renaker family. At Little's El Rancho Poco, near what is now the intersection of the 210 Freeway and Mountain Avenue in Monrovia, California, Lippitt Morman was a multi-champion show horse, parade horse (in the Tournament of Roses and other Southern California events), and sire.  

Merle Little stands between Lippitt Morman, left, and his Morgan mare Senorita Morgan,
on the cover the March 1952 issue of The Morgan Horse magazine. 

He was also, most definitely, a friend of the Little family.  People who knew Lippitt Morman described a horse who was "just Himself" -- a charismatic, self-possessed creature with a twinkle in his eye.  

My colleague Dawn Sinkovich has blogged eloquently about Lippitt Morman.  Dawn observes that, based on the number of sketches and pastel drawings of him she made, Maureen Love appears to have been captivated by Lippitt Morman too. You can see some of Maureen's multiple drawings here, along with a picture of a larger, walking version of "Lippet" that was never released by Hagen-Renaker:

Perhaps the most touching tribute about Lippitt Morman was written by his former owner, W. E. LeBoeuf, to Merle Little.  The letter is dated January 17, 1948, and is now in the collection of the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library at Cal Poly Pomona, only a few miles from the site of El Rancho Poco.  It reads, in part:

"Of all the horses that I have own[ed] and will, He will always be the One that I will remember, never again will I have a Horse that I will love so much as I did Morman, not only because he won the hundred miles but because of the so many good qualities in Him that I appreciated so much... As the old saying goes, You could cut the end of the road with him...."

My own Monrovia chestnut "Lippet" is enjoying a second career now, representing his namesake with other HR figurines designed by Maureen Love, in the exhibit "Miniature Menageries: The History and Artists Behind Hagen-Renaker, Inc." at the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library (WKKAHL) at Cal Poly Pomona.  He's scheduled to return to the empty space on my shelves in April 2019.

Top section: Left, HR "Misty;" center, artist Maureen Love; right, HR "Nataf."
Lower section: Left, HR "Love" Appaloosa and dapple gray "Encore" Arabian stallion;
center, HR "Ferseyn" and "Turning Arabian/Abu-Farwa" Arabian stallions;
right, "Lippet" chestnut Morgan stallion and "Tria" palomino Morgan mare.

For more information on "Miniature Menageries," visit the WKKAHL web page at:

Or their Facebook page:

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