Pinto Morgans

Hey everyone! I am just curious what everyone else feels about allowing Pinto Morgans and the possibility of it becoming a wide spread color. I am not a big fan of our colorful Morgans-mainly because it seems that when the yellows and greys started coming onto the scene, people started breeding for color only and totally lost sight of true Morgan type and the horses came out far below my standard of a Morgan. Now don’t get me wrong, there are some absolutely stunning colorful Morgans out there that have been breed well, I saw a gorgeous grey in a hunter pleasure class at Nationals that I loved…but I came across a Morgan farm website the other day that had a comment that they were focusing on breeding for the “next color–the pinto”. I am worried a bit for the integrity of the breed if some start and keep breeding just for color, sending out babies with poor conformation, lack of type and the like. What is everyone elses opinion of this?

43 Responses to Pinto Morgans

  1. empressive says:

    As a breed of horse Morgans are great but, there are so many horse breeds out there trying to become the top breed that the whole horse world has become a show.

    Selling, breeding, and showing horses even having a horse as a lawn ornament or trailriding is what makes or breaks a breed. Everyone is WATCHING! We are competing no matter what you do! It doesn’t matter if your horse is sin ugly you are in effect showing whereever you are.

    Therefore, (yes in all this rambling there is a point) when competing like this we get some weird and disturbing people as OUR MORGAN BREED GETS BIGGER. Everyone has their own idea of what perfect is and some people we can help and others we just can’t.

    Eventually if not already you will see people who think Morgans should look like mules with dalmation spots. Maybe too unimaginable? There are quarter horses with the HYPP disease that kills and I can turn you to multiple people and maybe you know some who have horses with this disease and are still breeding them.

    These breeders say that they know what they are doing blah, blah, blah! Well Yes obviously I dislike even the thought of a color Morgan. (although some are REEEEAAALLLYYY pretty) But, I also study genetics and understand that every once in a while color will come out. Sadly, people tend to mess things up and have their own ideas. (watch Death Note you will see what I mean)

    So without too much reading into it and with no gray spots we come to a decision…
    We can either move to vote that colored or paint Morgans are not what this breed is about I say vote because it is the right and least judgemental way of dealing with this. OR…

    We can band together. Get our priorities straight and start breeding correct Morgans that are not breed partial for any one discipline but, rather bred (like they are supposed to be breed) TO DO EVERYTHING. This way we can show people how this is done and be united as together we cannot fall.

    Maybe then other breeders will follow suit without being put under so harsh restrictions and with fewer bruised egos.

  2. Trisha says:

    I believe that there are some color breeders that are only breeding for color. But there are also some color breeders that are focusing on conformation and quality (like a Morgan) with the added perk of color.

    Colored Morgans have been around, it’s just that they’ve never been popular, but the genes are there. We had a three year old buckskin stallion a few years ago (passed away) who’s dam was a palomino who only recently passed away (she was about 30).

    Not to mention that stallions like Regal Charade (pinto) and SNR Steel Blue Magnolias(grey) are two examples of gorgeous colored Morgans.

  3. empressive says:

    Yeah Trisha, very true. Actually a friend up north just had a buckskin colt and boy is he cute! Oh! and very well conformed. Sometime I will have to get pics.

    Hey, did your friend ever find a home for that stallion?

  4. KayITM says:

    I completly agree with rubygirl82. I do not think pinto morgans should be allowed to be registered. There are plenty of other breeds that have that look. I think we should keep the morgans the way they are- Bay, Black, Chestnut.

  5. parksaddle1024 says:

    I don’t have any issues with the palaminos, grays or buckskins, in fact I have a wonderful Morgan whose sire is WorldsEdge Goldhawk (palomino). However, the spotted morgans are a whole different ballgame, and I think the Registry should have strict rules about the amount white allowed.

  6. morganmonarch says:

    I think that colored Morgans out there can be really beautiful. They are not usually my taste but I would never rule out a fabulous horse based on color alone. That being said I would just as soon never rule in a horse based upon color. A Morgan needs to be judged by their ability, character, conformation and type. Color really does not play a part in that for me but I do think that in the Morgan breed as well as many other breeds the pursuit for color ends with dilution of characteristics.
    Not to mention the fact that when horses are bred for the purpose of color then conformation is one the first things to be compromised. Then there is a surplus of horses being sold with the only merit attached to their name is color and the ability to produce more color. There are enough animals out there that go without proper care and training. Why add to that? I am speaking really from my experience with the quarter horse market and how flooded it is with horses of very little quality.
    I’ll get off my soap box now.

  7. JustFineThankYou says:

    Here’s my take on pinto…It’s just another color that’s been around in the breed for many years that is just being understood genetically by some of our breeders.

    Just like the colorful morgans, pinto morgans have a bias against them because many people do not understand where the genes come from, and the fact that they have ALWAYS existed in our breed. Unlike the Paint breed, these Morgans are NOT created by bringing in outside blood. These are all 100% morgans bred from the same bloodlines that your horses and mine have. If they too, are Morgans, then why stop them from being registered???

    Just like with any other color, there are responsible color breeders breeding quality animals. And, just like any other color, there will always be breeders making more horses just because of whatever is “in style”, be it typey heads, big movement, or the splash gene (which creates pinto).

    It is up to the breeder, unfortunately, to have a good eye for quality, type and confirmation and decide to breed that on. We can’t fight bad breeding by disallowing a particular color. We have tons of poorly conformed backyard-bred registered morgans out there, and they are allowed into the registry just fine.

    I’d suggest to everyone that they do their research on colored and pinto morgans before judging them. This is a good page to start with:
    These genes are not new, they are just understood better nowadays.

  8. nightmusicfarms says:

    What a great opportunity to chime in on a timely subject. I am thrilled that the old, very old color patterns are now being celebrated in this breed. I say “old” because palomino, grey, cremello, pinto, roan, buckskin, perlino and so forth have always been a part of our heritage, albeit one sadly forsaken. These patterns do not emerge by accident nor are they the result of illicit breeding. Rather, they have managed to survive against formidable odds, being quietly passed down and many times disguised. The “high white” rule of years past caused us to pay an enormous price in losing irreplaceable color genetics, but thankfully, the palominos, perlinos, cremes and even greys were easier to disguise and therefore to preserve. There are a number of horses listed as “chestnuts’ which were in fact vivid color carriers and thankfully passed the genetics on through their offspring. On the flip side, we have lost a rich heritage in a few color patterns, such as the blue roan and some of the pinto coat patterns.

    By the way, the Morgan horse can never be a Paint, only a pinto. The Paint horse belongs exclusively to the AQHA genetic club.

    Why on earth would we not celebrate the richly diverse heritage of our breed? We are enormously blessed to have a genetic pool which will still produce a “Joseph’s Coat’ of phenomenal colors and those who breed and have preserved them are to be celebrated, in my opinion.

    I suggest to those of you who oppose color in our breed that you take a look at the websites of people like Karen Burridge of UDM Morgans, Anne of Ancan Morgans, Laura Behning with her fabulous work in color. Look at breeders like Steve Smith of Ultra Morgans or Marilyn Esteb of Stonepine Farms. Look at Scott Thacker’s show colts produced by Amy Scott’s breeding program. Look at the work of Suzanne Edmonds in color recognition or the incredible old Western bloodlines carrying color. Go to Patty Clark’s Promised Land website. Learn more about the extraordinary efforts of Jennifer Monroe and her exotic Morgans. We have so much to embrace as a breed and should be giving thanks for the efforts of a handful to enrich so many.

    Susan Overstreet

  9. IED says:

    Here’s the thing…

    I’m not against having color happen as a byproduct of good breeding… same as I would never breed a horse so he had two white hind socks, I would never breed a horse just so he was a ‘cool’ color. But if I breed two great parents together and get those white socks, or that pinto coat, fantastic!

    It is when people breed for color and color alone that I wrinkle my nose. It’s a problem run rampant in other breeds – color, color, color! – that has traditionally resulted in some completely unspectacular offspring. I am not interested in the same thing happening with the Morgan.

    A high percentage of the ‘colored’ Morgans I see today tend to be pretty ugly and untalented. Not ALL.. there are a few gorgeous, talented and correct to the Morgan standard individuals I can think of off the top of my head.

  10. empressive says:

    I think something everyone needs to understand is that while ALL breeds of horses have a possiblity to throw or produce color in some breeds those color genes are inhibited by the way the foundation stock were breed.

    That is why breeds actually have specific color qualifications just like the conformation. Digging into these genes risks bringing out bad conformation unless you are extremely methodical and careful and I mean taking years to plan this out.

    We have new people in this breed that do not understand these things and thence the color conformities when they breed. Which attracts more color people who dream of the same thing.

    2 cents.

  11. jns767 says:

    NightMusicFarm, I really like how you put it, and agree with you :)

  12. rubygirl82 says:

    Susan, I don’t oppose the color, don’t get me wrong, I know that the genese are there and I’m not concerned about the color itself. I am concerned with those who see color and see dollar signs! Now there are many many reputable breeders of colorful morgans and I LOVE Ancan Morgans so much! However there are quite a few breeders out there that see color and want to breed to color just for the sole fac that dam and sire have color, forget that camped out hind end or large ear or tiny eye or huge head, etc etc. I love a pretty color morgan, but as IED put it well, it’s when people breed for color alone with no regard to conformation and beauty and versatility that I am opposed to.

  13. nightmusicfarms says:

    One of the most interesting aspects of color is understanding the genetics behind the appearance of color. Let me say right now that I don’t remotely begin to understand it and in fact, several great color people have patiently tried to explain it to me innumerable times. Thanks, Guys. :)

    At any rate, there are few breeds in which all color possibilities are present and some in which the options are really quite limited, not due to registration qualifications but due to the absence of the gene(s) in the genetic pool. It is not true in Morgans that breeding for color carries an associated risk of breeding conformational flaws. What is true is that many of the color lines in Morgans have been preserved and bred on through lines which are not necessarily the more refined horse many of us are accustomed to seeing, particularly in a show oriented group. That is why you have seen a movement on the part of breeders like Anne, Karen, Loretta, Marilyn, Patty and a few others to cross color lines back on lines known for their beauty, refinement (in a positive way) and action. Their thinking was to create the very appealing combination of unusual color and the more modern Morgan “look”. (By modern, I mean the beauty of the horses for the last forty years or so, most notably brought about the Nocturne influence.)

    From a genetic viewpoint, these people have done a superb job, as they have judiciously and carefully planned their matings and have, within just a few generations, produced horses which are every inch the look, beauty and temperment of the current show/pleasure animal wrapped up in a gorgeous palette of unusual coat colors. This is a formidable task and my hat’s off to them for their remarkable accomplishments.

    On the flip side of that coin is the very understandable concern on the part of a number of “old” color breeders that color would become a fad and the “show crowd” would run off with it, changing the look, durabiity, form to function and integrity of the old, largely working lines which were carrying color. It is absolutely true in our breed that one person’s preference is another’s worst nightmare and what some of us are seeing as “plain, coarse, poorly made” and so on are actually animals highly valued for their usability, strength, good legs, calm demeanor and yes, their “look”. Those breeders would sit down and throw right back at us their concern that the new color breeders would produce horses with “bad legs, lousy feet, pencil necks, early infertility, high strung behavior, low backs and no Morgan type”.

    If the truth were known, the biggest change in Morgan phenotype really has come from people breeding more for show horses, for a number of reasons. First, the influence of a particular new sire who becomes wildly popular is often catapulted by the advent of shipped semen. A horse like Noble Flaire who literally sets a new standard for show ring performance typically attracts dozens if not hundreds of people anxious to jump on the bandwagon. The end result is an explosion of animals within just a few generation that truly do redefine the breed “look” in notable ways. The problem, of course, is that the negative aspects are reproduced just as rapidly as the positive and with the thought that if “a little is good, a lot is better”, we soon have horses doubled up and tripled up in blood, locking in negative characteristics which take years to correct. The precise same thing happened with In Command while the horse’s beauty and tractability improved the breed enormously, so did early infertility and poor legs and feet. Please note that this is not a condemnation of either horse. It is simply that their wild popularity and often injudicious breeding “set” characteristics quickly and with great damage, as well as great benefit.

    I wish we could all look at one another’s program with more appreciaton and respect for the breeder’s objectives. The lower headed, heavier boned, calm working western horse is ideally suited for the task at hand and irreplaceable as a horse who can carry his rider safely throughout hours of arduous work and effort. Would they be at home in the show ring? Likely not, any more than most of our highly inbred show horses would find it tough going to drop down, partner with their rider in working disciplines and “go all day and give you a nickel back”. There is room for all of them and for all of us in this breed and I personally think it is just cooler than dirt that we can now dream in gold, silver, bronze, cream and yes, see spots in front of our eyes.


  14. palominosuzette says:

    Hi, Susan O (waves)…it’s me – you should recognize the name – you gave it to me (well, not the palomino part. I added that so my user name wouldn’t get kicked back again for already having been claimed).

    By the name you probaly can surmise I have a yellow horse. I have a cream one, too…and a two blacks and a chestnut. None were bred for color – pro or con. They were bred to give me what I hoped would be the best horse possible from their dams.

    I should also say that I worked very hard 15 years ago or so, with the AMHA to repeal the old high white rule, so if you HATEHATEHATE color and HATEHATEHATE Morgans born with pinto markings that exceed the old rule, you can blame me…at least in part. I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.

    You know, the old cry of, “but they’re breeding only for color”, has been around for along time.

    Let’s take a look at that. I think we ALL breed for color to some extent. Truly, if there are two stallions standing in front of you and they are identical in all ways – type, conformation, size, ability, breeding – totally identical EXCEPT one is bay and one is chestnut. You have to choose one – and so color is going to be the deciding factor.

    And there is nothing wring with that.

    CIlor is just one of the attributes a horse has – it is one of the factors we use to determine what horses we like better than others. We all “rack and stack” these factors depending on our own desires and needs. Color is no different than action, or size or trainability or shoulder angle or leg straightness or temperment or eye size…or any of those other things.

    In some ways, it is even less damaging to pursue, because it is an easy thing to get, and there are so many choices now as far as the types of Morgans that have the colors (or the spots).

    Let’s be factual here.

    JUstin MOrgan had a son named Revenge who sired not one…not two…but three dilution carrying colts, according to the registry – but not out of dilution mares, if we are to believe what is in the books. In fact, Revenge’s dam was called “cream” – so it is entirely possible that Justin Morgan produced a dilution carrying colt. Revenge is found in the pedigrees of most modern colorfuls, BTW – through Meteor Jr.(Meteor 2nd? I forget how he was notated – son of Meteor that ended up in Texas).

    Sherman Morgan sired several pinto colored colts, and grays showed up in the third generation as well. This was the same generation that say the first registered black morgans.

    So…buckskin and pinto had been in the breed for as long as has black. Why is only black considered “traditional”?

    It is not because of the first 60 years of the breed – that’s for sure. The foundation stock was not selected for bay, black and chestnut. This did not occur until after the Civil War when the US Government became the primary buyer of horseflesh and they preferred dark horses for uniformity.

    The high white rule wasn’t part of the breed until the early 1960s and was a response to a single stallion – War Paint – bred by Ab Cross.

    So, you see, history is on the side of the pinots and buckskins and palominos, at least in so far as these colors were recorded as being in the breed since its very early years.

    As far as the genetics go – just to clear up something said about all horse breeds carrying all genes…this really depends on how far back into the breed in question one wishes to go. Friesians, for instance – they are black with no white….now. Until a few years ago, there were a few roans. I’ve heard there still are, but I don;t track that stuff super closely. In anycase, the breeders.registering body of that breed decided to not accept any horses other than black with no white. In a generation or two, there goal was accomplished. You can’t go back in the piedigree of an existing horse and pull up some long-forgotten gene and produce a chestnut one.

    The color genes are pretty simple, really. For the most part, if you have it, you see it. There are some that can hide – the cremello dilution under black, or the silver dapple dilution under red, and some, like the pinto marking genes, can be mildly expressed and be somewhat hidden that way. But, usuallym they are pretty straight forward – more so that genes controlling conformation.

    Now – back to the issue of breeding only for color. Have people done it? Sure. Have people bred only for black? Sure. Have they bred only for size? Sure. Have they bred only for a fancy front end without caring that the hocks are digging corn rows? Sure. You see,
    these things are all the same. It is putting ONE part of the total equation on a higher level of importance than all the others, and it usually backfires.

    it’s fine to pursue something stronger than the other factors, but you still have to keep the total package in mind.

    It is done for money? Of course….most of the time, because most people breed to sell, and producing what sells, be it color, or bloodline, or size, or action, or a pretty head – is what the business is all about. I don’t fault people for that…ever….even if they aren’t breeding horses that look like mine.

    There are poorly made horses of color. There are poorly made ones that are Justin Morgan bay.

    The color market has changed a lot in 15 years. There was a HUGE surge in people who wanted to produce the “first buckskin park horse”. They bred lovely show horses to equally lovely colorfuls and came up with…sometimes not what the expected.

    I recall having discussions with some of these folks on why their foal didn’t get the color of one parent and the build of the other. Often, they had no idea about the horses on the colorful side, and how these would cross with the other. It was a mess, sometimes, and it was worse if the individuals involved were NOT both superior candidates.

    There were people who learned about the bloodlines, learned what crossed well with them, and have used this to develop horses that are more in the modern show mold. All it took was two or three generations – which isn’t much, really. They are closer to producing that first buckskin park horse, and I will be cheering them on, all the way.

    I am a firm believer in the power of the market to sort these things out. The breeders of quality animals (no matter what they are doing), will be successful. The breeder producing color (or size or action) for a quick buck won;t be around for long. The reputation their animals make will, however.

    Attitudes towards color have changes SO much – I hear it in the posts here. Really – 15 years ago we used to joke that you hadn’t arrived as a colorful Morgan owner unless you had had something really insulting said to your face about your horse not “really” being a Morgan….
    so I don’t want to come across too harsh here. I am amazed at the beautiful Morgans I see of all colors, and celebrate the joy the owners get in them. I just wanted to dispell some of the ideas that color breeders were all only breeding for color.

    Sorry this is so long, I am a windbag…
    Respectfully submitted


  15. helkat says:


    Hello, My name is Meredith Rosier and I ride colored Morgan horses….

    It is true…during this past season I had a palomino, gray, and yes a pinto Morgan in my barn for training. I am sure most of you know the three horses I am speaking of.
    Palomino – My mothers mare Rosedust Endless Summer
    Gray – Owned by Rob and Shelia Franklin, SNR Steel Blue Magnolias
    and Pinto – owned by Ultra Morgans, Minion Flash Dancer

    OK, that being said let me tell you something about myself that not many people know…I am a traditionalist. I prefer bay, black, brown..
    As a trainer I believe if the quality and disposition are there I do not care what color the horse is.
    From a training and showing perspective the colored horses can be a wonderful asset. Not only do you get promoted by word of mouth, if your horses are good it can be impressive from the center of the arena.

    I can not help but feel like this post is for me and believe me, I watched the comments out of curiosity to see how open minded our Morgan world really is.

    Look, color is present within our wonderful breed and if the nice horses, the ones full of quality are not shown and promoted then the ones that are bread strictly for color will continue to dominate. As a trainer I feel it is my job to have the guts to show the nice colorful Morgans….at a National level. This then can help direct the Morgan breed and what is acceptable with quality from inside the arena.

    That is my 2 cents….more like $1.00

    Meredith Rosier
    Breezy Knoll Farm

  16. nightmusicfarms says:

    Hi Suzanne, “waving right back at you”. The day you are a windbag will be the day I am a color expert. We are both safe. :)

    Guys, if you want to know anything and I do mean anything about the fascinating color genetics and history in our breed, Suzanne is the person to ask. Laura as well, but not sure is she is here. Hope she is, as well as Karen, Anne and few others who are focusing on breeding quality colorfuls.

    Meredith, your pinto boy is a favorite of mine. I look forward to the day when Minion may have their prefix on a colorful, but I think Menomin gets credit for Dancer. :)

    Good for trainers like you, Scott Thacker and a few others for showing your beautiful colorfuls. I occasionally tell Stacy that I am going to bring her a colorful WP so that she can bring GRS into this new area with a bang. I firmly believe that it is going to be a huge aspect of the show world going forward and when the first splashy EP or Park pinto hits the ring, Katie bar the door. I am hoping that Regal Charade is widely promoted, easily accessed and passes his color on routinely.



  17. palominosuzette says:

    In all honesty, Susan, I haven’t kept up with some of the newer discoveries about color – such as the pinto genes or the details behind brown. Laura is WAY better than me on those.

    Really, people are so much better informated of color and such now than they used to be – it’s really heartening. I am perfectly fine with someone saying that they don’t care for color X or Y or Z. It’s fine – really. I am just so happy to no longer hear the old , “it can’t be a purebred” comments that we used to.

    I hope you do get your Katie Bar the Door one day. it might even get me to go to OKC again just to cheer for you, and I salute the trainers taking on the Morgans of alternate shades. You are brave souls, because there is no doubt you ARE going to stand out in the ring.

    It’s funny – you know, my favorite color is a red bay – the color that Fadjur was – remember that – Like red gold flame. All black legs, a tiny star – that’s all I needed to be happy for the rest of my life. I don’t have one.

    I never liked black…my favorite horse is black.

    I always thought cremellos had weird eyes…and then I had a perfect BIG cremello filly plopped in my lap one morning, and she is probably the best horse I have bred. Amy is the total package, and those blue eyes – (hers are sort of lavender), really grow on you.

    It’s funny – I worked really hard to let all Morgans with verifiable DNA have their birthright regardless of color or marking, but I was never a huge fan of cremellos…and I ended up with one, and I adore her because of the horse she is.

    The world turns in interesting ways…but, dang – the only thing harder to keep clean than a black horse is a white one.

  18. nightmusicfarms says:

    Thanks, Suzette. I hope “she” is a spotted filly or a colt confident in his sexuality, because “Katie Bar the Door” is the name. vbg

  19. helkat says:

    oops…sorry for the typo, and it was a big typo…I was on a roll :)

  20. Windenhill says:

    As a USEF judge, I have no problem with any color coat on a horse. What I have a BIG problem with is bad conformation and lack of breed type, which is a much more rampant problem.

    After all, a good horse is a good color. (I think that’s what Meredith was trying to say up there.)

    Will the colorfuls bring in a few people to the breed that see only color and are colorblind to flaws? Of course.

    But we have an equal number of people coming into the breed (or already here) who focus on a set of papers, get starry-eyed over the pedigree, and are totally “paperblind” to the horse standing in front of them.

    So what’s the difference?

    We (read: AMHA) need a serious breeders’ education system put into place. I think it should be on-line as well as published in TMH as a series of articles. Even if only half the people breeding read and comprehend 50% of the material, it will make a dramatic improvement. And today, it’s more critical than it’s ever been that we produce horses that are sound, sane, true to breed type and correctly conformed. Otherwise they may end up heading over the border to Canada to become someone’s main dish in Europe.

  21. nightmusicfarms says:

    GREAT point, Tami. You are so right, no better time than now for people to think through every single breeding prior to making it. Hopefully a lot of us will slow down the production and all of us will learn more, regardless of our level of experience.


  22. rubygirl82 says:

    WOW!!! I am so glad you bring up the “paperblind” issue!!! I thought I was the only one who thought people were crazy who just bred for bloodlines and ignored the flaws in the sire or dam itself! Thank you all so much for your input, this has been a great topic and I think that if more great colorful Morgans bravely enter the showring and have the guts (which they should!) to show at Nationals, many of the hard core anti color people will come around. I am not pro or con to color, after all of the great comments, I realize now I am pro good horse, con bad horse:o)

  23. nightmusicfarms says:


    The thanks is all to you for bringing up this topic. This was a great conversation and hopefully more people will chime in. I had to smile reading each contribution because it went exactly the way on line discussions should go, which is with courtesy, objectivity, education and mutual respect.



  24. colwilrin says:

    Personally, I am “colorblind”…a good horse is a good horse. I like chrome, alot, and my last western horse had a bit of blue in his eye, so genetically he probably carried the splash gene (or so I assume given my very limited knowledge regarding color).

    Over the years, I have noticed a few saddlebred pintos which I think are gorgeous (Chubasco being foremost). However, I think breeding a really stellar show pinto presents certain challenges. Light colors, especially white, seem to give the optical illusion of the body area being thicker. I would think that to have a pinto EP/Park horse, it would almost have to be more refined than its solid counterpart to look comparable.

    As for the high white rule, I was very opposed to it when it was in effect. Not because of any preference for color, but because I was afraid that foals would be culled for white markings that would not allow them to be registered. This seemed to be a harsh punishment for a baby that, but for some high markings, would have been registered and promoted. This was back in 1980′s when some farms were grossly overbreeding and rumors still existed about the culling of chestnuts. The Arab business was so overbred that some breeders in our area loaded up trailers of unsold, lesser quality yearlings each season to be sent to slaughter.

    Whatever a person’s preference is, breeding should be done discriminantly. The market is unable to bear continued overbreeding.

    BTW. I agree 100% with the statements about “paperblind.” Having two WC parents does not guarantee a good result, nor that those parents, or lines, will cross well together.

  25. leslie says:

    “I’d suggest to everyone that they do their research on colored and pinto morgans before judging them. This is a good page to start with:

    I scrolled all the way through this page and saw only one pinto on the list (and I give lots of props to the person who put the lethal white/frame overo information right up front).

    The Rainbow MHA’s page didn’t offer much in the way of attractive pinto Morgans:

    I did a google search for Pinto Morgans and really didn’t find any photos of actual pintos (not just high white). I’m not really for or against pintos in the breed, but like everyone else I think conformation, temperament and usefulness need to be the primary considerations with color being the icing on the cake, at most. And with an admittedly superficial search, I’m not finding any nice Morgans with pinto coloring. Anyone have any examples to share?

  26. lc says:

    My sister and I grew up showing Morgans – and I still do. My sister has not really followed the breed in shows or magazines etc. into her adult life. She recently came to visit me and popped open one of many different Morgan magagzines. Her reaction was “wow are those Morgans?”. Honestly, they were a little hard to differentiate from a quarter horse or Mustang or even a grade horse. Please note this was not because they were cremellos or palominos (which they were) but it was because their type and conformation was so dissimilar to that of our Morgan standards of perfection. Trust me I have seen some beautiful, wonderful pinto, palomino and bucksin Morgans but there are breeders out there who do have one objective -COLOUR and that is such an incredible disservice to our fantastic breed. Let’s preserve our breed with type, conformation and athletic ability first and colour as a cherry on top!

  27. nightmusicfarms says:

    Hi Leslie:

    There are really very, very few pintos from which to make any conclusion, unfortunately. The palomino overo frame mare on the Rainbow site is actually a very pretty little mare, with a good bit of refinement. I have not seen any photos of her baby beyond the foal shot, but thank goodness she was bred and produced a filly. She was not bred until very, very late and she is the last known of pattern, to the best of my knowledge.

    Regal Charade is a very elegant, very refined animal and there are a few photos of him about. Steve and Annette Smith’s Flash Dancer is an exceptionally handsome horse and can be seen on the Ultra Morgans website. Karen Burridge has a very loudly marked splash mare who is attractive and has a bit more of hunter build.

    Finally, I forgot to mention the MEMC website and breeding program and by all means people should go take a look. MEMC stands for “Monroe’s Exotic Morgan Connection” and Jennifer Monroe is the owner/breeder. She has bred several notable creme stallions and she currently has two pinto colts, one the sire of the other. Her youngest colt is the most loudly marked pinto coat pattern in our breed that I know about. Jennifer breeds for what she calls a “baroque” look, so her horses tend to have a bit more bone and substance than many show bred horses.


  28. palominosuzette says:

    On one hand there are not many examples of pinto Morgans. On the other hand, they are common in our breed.

    Say what?

    Because of the enacting of the highwhite/blue eye rule in the 1960s, registered Morgans with white that just happened to fall outside the newly enacted legal areas lost their papers. Some people continued breeding them to each other and to other Morgans, but these horses were not registerable, and so, when bloodtyping and DNA became required, they did not participate in these programs. There is no way to go back an re-establish the continous line of registeration a closed breed like ours reguires now to grant registration to those purebred descendents of the horses expunged in the early 1960s due to white.

    So…there is a very small gene pool left in the breed for certain white markings, such as overo. Skywalker AB and her filly are the only known overo pinto Morgans that can be registered. Skywalker AB wasn’t registered until a teenaged mare – until the white rule was repealed.

    The overo gene geneally produces what is considered a “real” pinto as opposed to high white, although most high white markings are usually caused by one (or more) of the pinto genes.

    Tobiano does not exist in the breed. Splash and sabino do. The last, sabino, is fairly common in the Morgan breed. It and splash are behind many of the so called high white horse, although it is more accurate to call them pintos.

    It’s a hard to call line at which a horse with chrome becomes a pinto, yet as we learn more about the nature of the pinto genes, we are learning that there may not be a line after all.

    So – is there a pretty small sampling of highly expressed or loud pintos in the breed? A few generations of selective breeding against white almost extinguished it i nthe form of the overo gene, and minimized it in the cases of splash and sabino.

    It is in the breed? Oh, definitely. Most people here probably have at least one horse in their barn that carries one or more of the pinto gene.

    As susan noted (Susan – Laura has a picture of Skywalker’s filly as a more mature horse – tkae a look), tehre are people who are searching for those individuals that express more of the white in the hopes of maximizing it in offspring. They are sort of rebuilding the color in our breed as it was nearly removed. To do this, sometimes one has to deal with other things, conformationally, that one would not otherwise want to, but every breeding is this way – there are always things from each parent one would rather not have.

    If one wants to preserve all the diversity and richness of our breed, this is what one must do.. it was what those preserving gray had to do i nthe last decade (we were down to less than five gray Morgans at one time). We have lost roan – it will go extinct in a few years when the one gelding and the one elderly mare die (unless others are discovered).

    These are not new colors to the breed, but historic.

    Rebuilding a gene pool takes careful work, and not every breeding will be successful. We are lucky to have some of the dedicated people we do working on producing nice pinto Morgans. Give them a decade or so, and see if they don’t start bringing some very nice horses to OKC.


  29. PlayMorBill says:

    My wife has been a Michelle McFarlan wanna-be for years. Mark my words: PlayMor will have a pinto someday.

    I don’t particularly like the color combination, but I’m old school. A Bay is wearing a tuxedo, and a Black is the coolest thing since chocolate ice cream.


  30. palominosuzette says:

    I think I pushed the wrong button and deleted my last post.

    Anyway, not to retype the whole thing – I just put a couple of interesting websites up.

    One – Morgan x Saddlebred pintos
    Go to browse or fleir to see the foals for sale.

    The other was a historical article on War Paint

    Hope I didn’t double submit.


  31. leslie says:

    Why is it important to preserve the pinto genes if breeders have to sacrifice conformation to perpetuate that color? Does the breed actually gain that much by having overo coat patterns somewhere in the gene pool?

    I think it’s good that they scrapped the high white rule, because if your breeding program creates a beautiful, talented horse who happens to have white all the way up his legs, I don’t think he should be unregisterable. But I guess I don’t understand why having pinto in the Morgan gene pool is worth breeding horses with conformational deficiencies, especially considering the current state of the horse population at large. Shouldn’t breeders be striving for perfection with every cross (in a perfect world, anyway)?

    I promise I’m not trying to start an argument! I’m just generally curious.

  32. palominosuzette says:

    It’s a personal choice, and it isn;t an all or nothing sort of deal – no breeding is.

    Everytime a person chooses to breed their mare, they make choces as far as conformation, disposition, way of going, leg structure, and, yes, color.

    As there are no perfect horses, one has to make compromises in every breeding.

    As each of us has a different goal in mind for the foals we produce, we all have to “rack and stack” the qualities of our breeding animals accordingly.

    I have no trouble with people deciding to put pinto at a higher level of importance than I would, as long as they understand the risks they take. For instance, I will choose good,straight legs over a long neck, but that suits my sort of riding.

    I hope they don’t sacrifice TOO much in the pursuit of a single goal. I hope that everyone who breeds with a specific goal in mind, be it color, or size, or action, keeps in mind the whole picture – the totallity of the horse they are engineering. In my mind, putting any of these too high on the list is courting trouble, but I like a middle of the road sort of horse.

    As the genes are in the breed, I have no trouble at all with people trying to maximize it and improve the horses upon which it is found.

    My dream doesn’t have to be everyone else’s, and I know that, for a lot of people, a splashy pinto is their dream.


  33. nightmusicfarms says:


    I want to be careful not to leave folks with the impression that breeding for color is equivalent to sacrificing type, form to function, conformation and beauty. That is absolutely not the case. Again, many of the color lines were preserved in older, heavier boned Morgans, some of which may be viewed today as coarse against a show standard. However, these lines were and are treasured for many qualities other than color by a group of breeders and they are a very valuable part of our gene pool.

    I am trying not to step on any toes here, but maybe it is time to be a bit more blunt. For those of us who breed “show” horses, the problem with the greys, cremes, some palominos and so forth were that most of the horses were far more substantial, lower headed and plain than anything we were accustomed to seeing. In addition, most did not have any motion to speak of or if they did, it was very much a low to ground, heavy on the forehand gait. I hesitate to say WP or HP because in fact, they would not have been competitive in today’s hunt or western world. (I would not risk the avalanch of useless argument which would follow by posting this on any other list, but I am hoping people here understand that this is not a criticism of these animals, but rather an explanation of why they were not preferred by many people.) My personal feeling is that the greys still have a very long way to go in this regard, although the hunter mentioned was very nice and there are a few more coming on as well. The greys basically got down to three lines and without boring most readers, suffice it to say that one was essentially lost to us by a breeder who chose to withhold her from the gene pool. The other dam line is responsible for literally all of today’s grey, with the exception of two mares in Utah unless I am mistaken in my information. (Suzanne, if I am, please jump in.) This last line I mention is very much a lean, almost running QH look, but attractive animals. The more dominant grey line is big boned and somewhat coarse. Plus, the initial breeders of grey were focusing on preserving this fabulous color and were not necessarily interested in breeding for refinement.

    I am personally unaware of ANY conformational flaw associated with a color line, period. By this, I mean bad legs, bad feet, low back and so forth. Please remember that these horses have been used as true working animals for many years and conformational flaws have a way of being weeded out pretty quickly when the going gets tough. Actually, I wish I could say the same thing about several of our very prominent show lines.

    As for “why” people do it, it is to preserve an irreplaceable part of our heritage. I come from the generation who celebrated a poster which said “Extinct is Forever” and truer words were never spoken. For example, Suzanne mentioned that we have all but lost the roan gene, unless by some miracle a breedable survivor pops up. Not only is that true, but in many cases, it is human ignorance and not just happenstance which brings it about. We have one true roan mare whose owner is not at all open to breeding or selling her. We have another beautiful roan gelding who has no retained semen. The roan gene is beautiful, it is unique and it is somewhat rare, in that it is more prevalent in draft or cold blooded breeds. To the best of my knowledge true roan has never been proven in the Arabian or ASB, so we were really fortunate to have it. True roan is a very specific gene and it is not the widely scattered “white on color” pattern we often see. True roan is a mixture of unpigmented white hairs interspersed with a solid color. The true or classic roan will have a solid color on their head, mane, lower legs and tail, unless white appears as the result of some other gene. Finally, true roans carry an inverted V shape where the solid hairs of the lower leg meet the roan coat above the knee. Bottom line, it is rare, it is unique and sadly, it is now gone for us barring a small miracle. The enormous efforts of color “experts” such as Suzanne, Laura and few others have resulted in a fairly good understanding of which lines carry “color”, so finding an unexplored color line is intriguing but not likely.

    Suzanne mentioned that we are missing the Tobiano gene in Morgans, which is a true shame. We lost so much potential with the loss of War Paint that it is just a crying shame for those who understand and lament the absence of certain color lines in our breed.

    Probably longer than anyone wanted to read, but to summarize:

    Color is NOT associated with poor conformation.

    Preserving color is essential to protecting the rich diversity of the gene pool.

    Huge hurrahs to those responsible for having protected it throughout the years.


  34. palominosuzette says:

    You’re pretty darn right, Susan – BUT….
    We had two bloodlines left carrying gray in the 1980s. One via a mare in the east, one via a mare in the west. They were not related lines, but both were tracable back a long way in the breed. Most of the modern grays come from the easten mare. There are only two grays out of the western mare (which are both back east now. LOL).

    Here’s Laura’s page on the grays.

    The western mare’s line tends to produce nicely made horses with good conformation and not a lot of breed type – they are rather generic, but nice looking animals. I would say they are hunter type if I have to pick a category for them.

    The eastern mare’s line tends to be somewhat coarser, but has been outcrossed to several other lines, inc. Lippitt and show lines, in attempts to modify the structure of the offspring. They are much more western in type, to my eye.


  35. palominosuzette says:

    I should ad that there are a couple of youngsters in the gray shade that are pretty fancy, and could very easily go EP. They are still young yet, and aren’t really out there in the public eye. They are quite a bit different than the “root stock” of the 1980s, and should surprise people (in a good way), if they hit the big time.


  36. nightmusicfarms says:

    Right you are, Suzanne. I was trying so hard to avoid the Frosty Miss saga that I forgot Shadow was her descendant!

    I am not sure if Ellen stills owns the mare and filly, but hope so or hope they are or will be breeding hands. I think the Frosty Miss line will rapidly accelerate a showy line of greys crossed on the right stallions.

    I will be glad to see the colts you mentioned and hope they are indeed successful.


  37. palominosuzette says:

    I think Ellen still has the mare – not sure about the filly. She’s a nice riding mare – very sweet, and I agree….conformationally, she is very good. Bred to a typy horse, she could produce something fabulous. of course, her dam was very much like her, so it does seem to be a line that is pretty set in its structure.


  38. leslie says:

    I’m a sucker for a gray horse of any breed, but as far as I know I’ve only ever seen one gray Morgan. There was one in the sport horse in-hand class at Vermont Spring Classic last year. I liked it, but the judge didn’t, as I remember.

  39. palominosuzette says:

    Here’s a link that shows a number of grays.

  40. Carole says:

    I know where there is a gray Morgan colt in Eagle Point,Oregon.
    He is at
    His name is Oregon Reining Silver. Click onto the for sale section at Linda’s web sight. I think he is a yearling.

  41. lindahastings says:

    Hello Susan: I really appreciate your positive comments about the colors in the Morgan breed. We have been breeding for quality and including color for the past 30 years and have been very excited with every little new life.
    Now, I have gathered together my wonderful colors in my herd and would like to share them. We have a beautiful and very correct grey yearling colt, a lovely palomino gelding who is three this year and has had over a year of professional training. Both are so very quiet to handle. I also have a beautiful buckskin mare by Farceur’s Fools Gold who has had lots of training and riding and a lovely Sabino, Splash and Silver Dapple colt (all in one). He is a weanling. We have a really lovely creme stallion, trained to drive and so easy to handle. Notice I have all my horses quiet and easy to handle. I used to like flash and energy but guess it is my age and attitude. So important to me to have them easy!
    Now, I am approaching 65 years old (hard to believe) but need to know where to go with these horses. Do you have any suggestions? My website is I don’t have all online but most. Thanks for the time to listen. Linda Hastings Lighthouse Morgans

  42. nightmusicfarms says:

    Hi Linda:

    Thank you for your kind comments. I am familiar with your program and you have a lovely herd of horses. I particularly like your beautiful Marquel and think that Reining Silver is just lovely. Great names as well!

    I also wholeheartedly applaud your desire to have your guys calm, broke, manageable and easy. I agree that it is hard to believe we are all getting older, but boy, it is so important to have good thinking, well behaved animals. What a treat for the next owners of your good animals.

    As for where to go with your breeding and sales plans, I can only tell you my thoughts on the subject. I think that the horse market, like the real estate market, is now turned completely upside down and is in totally uncharted territory. I know people will disagree with my statements, but my personal opinion is that what used to be considered “good” prices are now just a fleeting memory and anyone who wishes to sell simply needs to realize that they have got to adjust their sights down by a significant margin.

    I will give you a good example(s). I listed two beautiful colts here a while back and actually got several responses on them. I will provide their background, as it illustrates my point.

    The first of these colts is a coming three year old by Centerpiece. The stud fee for this colt was $5K, the associated breeding costs ran fairly close to $1K. I boarded the mare out for the pregnancy and paid roughly $500 a month with board, care, vet fees, farrier and so forth. The colt was born and I paid probably $500 to have him foaled out, vet works and so forth. Paid about the same amount for the first eight months of his life, at which point I paid $1K to ship him and put him in training for the Circle J Futurity. I paid about $9K in expenses and training before he went to the show. Following his Top Ten win, I put him on board to let him down for a few months and then shipped him out west for his two year old work. I had him on a combination of board and training this year, as he is a big, big colt and was growing like a weed. We did not want to stress him, so made sure he got ample play and rest time. He is now back at work and being put to saddle. He has been nominated for the World Futurity each year of his life.

    At this point, if you have followed my laborious tale, you will realize that I know have roughly $40K in this colt. In past times he would have been an easy $60K prospect or in that range. He is beautiful, he is huge, he is talented, he is extreme and he is by a WC sire whose book has been completely closed for three years. My original plans were to sell him as a three year old saddle colt and if he looks six months out like he looks now, he that price would only go up.

    I have this colt for sale for $25K and in this market, that will be considered good for all involved.

    My second colt is by Stand and Deliver out of the last daughter of HRH Trophyet. He is not only WMF, but he is eligible for the new $10K incentive and should be a good candidate. I won’t bore everyone with the same level of detail, but suffice it to say that I have roughly $15K in this colt, including his dam’s board. He is for sale for $7500 and that price is an absolute steal.

    My situation is a little unusual in that I have to board all of my horses out (and here is a total tribute to the absolute finest mare/foal manager in the business, Barb Rudicel.) Nonetheless, my personal opinion is that the heyday market is gone, gone, gone and we all need to face that fact. If you really want to sell your stock, I would suggest you focus first and foremost on finding the perfect home for them and make price a secondary and perhaps even tertiary issue. I would offer terms to the right buyer and realize that I was not going to get anything close to the price I planned on just a few months ago.

    One final example and my apologies if this is redundant. A few months ago I tried to market a gorgeous nine year old direct Commando mare out of a daughter of Suite After and Appleton’s Baroness. This mare rode, drove and was a junior champion. She was a proven broodmare and absolutely gorgeous. After dropping her price to $5K, I finally just decided to give her to the perfect home. It took me five attempts before I found an excellent home anxious to have her, simply because of the cost of keeping yet another horse.

    If you don’t have to sell, you may want to just plan on keeping them for a few more years and seeing if things settle down. That is a risky proposition, however and I would not be at all surprised to see it take much, much longer than that.

    If a person happens to be a buyer, the water is just about perfect!

  43. lindahastings says:

    Thank you so very much. You are a wonderful writer too. I appreciate your thoughtful comments and have found the same in this past year. I have sold some horses that would have gone in the past for $10K and up for $4500. The ones that are worth $5000 are going to wonderful homes for $2500. I can sell for less as I have an inhouse trainer and grow my own hay. I don’t wish to keep the horses for a long time so will continue to drop prices and create a new market. The people who appreciate the quality of the horses and have money are happy to have a good price. Thanks again. This is a great medium for talking. Linda

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