Morgans in Saddlebreds

I may come across as an idiot – I apologize, but I am curious. The Morgan horse played a role in the development of the Saddlebred horse, right? What traits from the Morgan did the Saddlebred horse inherit? I know that this is a broad question, but I wonder if when a Morgan horse has some Saddlebred looking qualities where that stems from? Could it be that along the way – the Saddlebred picked some of its’ unique qualities from the Morgan horse (wayyy back) and that once in a while, these similar (and originally Morgan  traits) come out in the Morgan as well. Hmm – I’m trying to word this as simply as possible. Have people crossbred the horses at some point creating a Saddlebred lineage in the Morgan breed? As an amatuer I’m trying to get a better understanding of these two similar breeds – and just how closly tied they are.

Jenny Jespersen :-)

6 Responses to Morgans in Saddlebreds

  1. Ignitor says:

    Ninety-percent of today’s Saddlebreds carry Morgan blood. The original list of stallions selected as foundation sires by the National Saddle Horse Breeder’s Association in 1899 included the Morgan stallions Cabell’s Lexington and Coleman’s Eureka. Today, the majority of Saddlebreds carry Morgan blood through the Black Hawk grandsons, Gist’s Black Hawk and Indian Chief; and the great-grandson, Peavine.
    From AMHA Site.

    Also read about Rule II.

    That information will help you understand how tied they are.
    I know this does not answer all your ?’s But I have to say I bet the ASB got there smarts from the Morgans.

  2. empressive says:


    I was always told that there are never stupid questions. ONLY stupid answers! Hopefully you will not get the latter.

    Something you have to remember is that where a horse is and how it is used actually puts a stamp on how it produces. Morgans were plow horse and show horses. Remember at a point in time they were the fastest on the trotting track until crossed European track stock to produce Standardbreds. Not to mention they were also used to create the Quarter horse breed.

    But more than likely because the Morgan was being used to create Saddlebreds and Standardbreds. There wasn’t enough “good” stock left to produce the Quarter horse. I mean (and not to be mean) Quarter horse are nothing like Morgans. Even some of our really heavy Morgan’s bred to be like Quarter horses are not like Quarter horses at all.

    Let alone they didn’t use alot of Morgan stock. Saddlebreds on the other hand used multiple stock but noticable Throughbred stock. As far as I know Throughbreds do not have a highstep. But Morgans do. Granted Hackney blood was also used but, in the early 1900′s shipping anything but, Throughbreds from England wasn’t done alot.

    I can only imagine there wasn’t alot of that blood around. Therefore it had to come through the Morgan. Giving you the link between the 2.
    Upwey Ben Don is credited to being the Saddlebred influence in the Morgan breed.

    Sorry if this has (actually is) gotten too long. And I hope I make some sense. Which I probably don’t. Being sick and all.

    Great question though this ought to be very interesting, full of learning, and most of all FUN!!!!

  3. colwilrin says:

    jns and empressive, there is only one type of stupid question…it is the one that is NOT asked.

    The “book” for morgan breeding was left open to outside blood up until the mid 1900′s. I don’t remember when it closed exactly, but it was about 50 years ago (give or take a decade). Until then, morgans could be bred to saddlebreds and the get registered as morgans. Some morgan lines have more of this influence in their lineage and when line bred, it may concentrate.

    Also, saddlebreds also crossbred to Morgans for many years. That is part of the reason why Saddlebred heads are much prettier now than they were in the 1950′s.

    The saddlebred, like it or not, is a part of the Morgan past…as we are part of their past.

  4. denu220 says:

    I don’t know as much as the folks who already posted, only that there is Morgan in Saddlebred and vice-versa. I only wish the two breeds weren’t looking sooo much like each other the way they do nowadays…

  5. StacyGRS says:

    While there are certainly some extremes (on both sides…there was an ASB that used to show out here that was VERY Morgany)I think they have similarities, but are not interchangable. A few years ago an eq rider took her Morgan to the Royal to show in the equitation finals there. You can actually show any breed equitation in the finals, but it’s pretty rare that anything but an ASB shows up. This was not the “typiest” Morgan in the world…thus the fact that is was an equitation gelding:) He stood out in that crowd every step of the way. Not in a bad way…he was not a lesser horse, he was just different. That said, we can’t act surprised about the similarities, ASB’s are decended from Morgans and their breed standards call for many similarities.

  6. cap1963 says:

    In Jeanne Mellin’s book, THE COMPLETE MORGAN HORSE, she explains this subject very well, especially in Chapter 5; Growing Pains and Breeders’ Guidelines. Colwilrin has it right. Without going into the full details, outside blood was allowed by the registry until 1948. Between 1894 and 1905, the rules were changed a little regarding the quantity of blood coming directly from Justin Morgan (one sixty-fourth in 1894 vs one thirty-second in 1905) and provided the dam and sire’s dam were bred in approved speed or roadster lines. She also shows pictures (drawings) and gives the lineage of many of the old famous sires in the breed where they clearly had some outside blood or was from a horse registered somewhere in their lineage with the American Saddle Horse Register.

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