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In Memory Of: Dr. S. Robert Orcutt

April 8, 2006 ~ It is with deep sadness, yet with many fond memories of a legendary member of our Morgan Family, that we learn of the passing of Dr. S. Robert Orcutt, known affectionately to most as "Dr. Bob".

Before there was an official breed known as the Morgan, even before a registry recorded their pedigrees, there were the Orcutts breeding, training, and using Morgans. Orcutt descendants have had one of the most significant impacts on the Morgan breed, leaving in their wake some of the most important Morgans in the breed's history. Today we honor S. Robert Orcutt, whose name like so many of his relations is synonymous with a number of great Morgans in history. Born in Vermont on a farm where Morgans weren't just raised, but worked. Robert saw Morgans in the now bygone duties of the work horse. They were the power that turned the fields and served as a reliable transportation. In fact, Morgans played such a significant role on the Orcutt farm the family did not purchase a car until Robert left for college. It was these early experiences with Morgans that would mold Robert's dedication and love of the Morgan breed.

A practicing veterinarian on the North Shore of Massachusetts for nearly 50 years, Robert earned his VMD at the University of Pennsylvania and returned to New England to open a veterinary practice and continue the Orcutt tradition of breeding and training Morgans. Without an indoor riding arena and braving the frigid winter temperatures of New England, Robert spent the next 50 years working Morgans with grit, determination, and purpose. Always seeing the silver lining in any horse, he worked to reveal each horse's true potential. With horses such as Ulendon, Orcland Leader, Vigilda Burkland, Gay Cavalier, Gay Dancer, and so many, many, more Robert's talent for exposing a horse's flair was as obvious then as it is today.

In the 1950s with his training abilities becoming legendary, Dr. Bob brought on an assistant, Pat Tataronis, to help him juggle the tremendous responsibility of successful professional trainer and doctor in a one-man practice. Pat and Robert under the Burkland Farm banner were entrusted with many great horses from the likes of Mabel Owen, Green Meads Farm, Rum Brook Farm, and Dot White, whose Orcutt-trained mare Westwold Dona Resa would foal the late, great Van Lu Starbuck. While endless pages could be dedicated to success of countless Morgans who excelled under the reins of Dr. Bob, we can be thankful he passed his skills and love of Morgans on to the next generation of Orcutts. Dr. Bob was one of the founding members of the Morgan Judging Standards Committee that produced the current Morgan Breed Judging Standards.

Renowned nationwide as a trainer, exhibitor, and breeder, "Doc's" experience in equine health and medicine earned him a reputation of superiority as a practitioner. His veterinary practice included small animals, but he was best known for his intense devotion to equine health and reproduction. He was joined in his veterinary practice by his son Dr. Robert M Orcutt and his daughter Dr. Helen Orcutt Noble. The Orcutt tradition also lives on in Robert's grandsons, Josh and Caleb Noble, who strive to maintain the same impeccable and legendary skills possessed by their grandfather.

Calling hours: Tuesday, April 11 from 3 to 8 PM. at the Whittier Funeral Home in Ipswich, MA.

The Funeral: Wednesday April 12 at 11:00 A.M. at New Life Community Church, 186 East Main St.(Rt 133), Georgetown, MA . Burial will follow the service at the Rowley Cemetary. Reception at the Rowley VFW in Rowley, Mass.

Reprinted with permission from the New England Morgan Horse Association web site,


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