It’s true, and probably not a surprise, that I’ve been a diehard lover of TB’s and warmbloods for the vast majority of my riding career. It’s just an obvious side effect of wanting a horse than jumps things for a living… you’re attracted to those who do it most naturally and are most popular. I admit that I can also be a bit of a snob about horses sometimes, although less now than I used to be.
But my first love was not either of those breeds. As a kid I obsessed over one particular breed, collecting books and model horses and stickers and shirts and basically anything I could find with one of them on it. The breed name was even my favorite human name, and I swore someday I’d name my kid that, as a tribute to the horse. I know their whole history, I know all the different types, and to this day I still occasionally peruse dreamhorse and equine.com looking at what is available and for how much. I know most of the major breeders and have a handful of stallions that I online stalk from time to time. I’ve had the chance to ride several of them over the years and have always had a total blast. They’re forward thinking, they’re cheeky, they’re intelligent, and they’re hardy. All of my favorite qualities in a horse.
So what breed is it?
Morgans! Definitely not the typical choice for most horse crazy kids or jumper enthusiasts. They’re usually bay, not particularly elegant, not very big, and not very common. But there’s something about them that has always seemed so REGAL to me, even 20 years ago to my barn rat, lesson kid self. And I’m not talking about the modern show type Morgans that look more Saddlebred than anything else. I’m talking about the government/cavalry type Morgans with bigger, blockier heads, more bone, and butts so wide you could have a picnic on them.
I’ll never forget one of the most fun rides I’ve ever had in my life… it was when I was a working student at an eventing farm in Maryland. One of the boarders had a couple of (very obese and very very cheeky) Morgans that she mainly just trail rode. Every once in a while we would get to take them out into the neighboring state park and ride around. One day I was on one of them and another working student was on another, and we decided to race each other across the top of a grassy levee beside the lake. On the count of 3 there we went on these two Morgans… legs flying, manes flying, fat just a-jiggling all over the place. They flattened themselves out and galloped for all they were worth (which, granted, was not very fast), because if there’s one thing about a Morgan, they have a ton of “try”. We were laughing so hard both of us almost fell off, and those Morgans were so proud of themselves they pranced the whole way back to the barn, neither of them wanting to let the other in front. What those two lacked in size they made up for ten times over in personality and sheer will.
One of these days I’ll eventually own a Morgan. It’s on my bucket list. Or maybe even a Morgan x TB? They might not be the scopiest thing or the most athletic thing or have the best gaits or the best style, but there’s just something about them I’ve never been able to shake.
At one point Denny Emerson was even interviewed for an article about Morgans in eventing. I am not the only one enamored by these keen little horses.
And look at this little guy jump. Springs for legs and super honest. One of these days, little Morgan… one of these days.
Time for everyone else to fess up. What’s that “weird” breed that you’re totally smitten with, but isn’t at all mainstream for your discipline?