Morgan Versatility

I’ve been thinking lately about discussions that have been had in the past about Morgan versatility. It is part of the appeal of our breed after all. There have been few shows I’ve attended that have had some sort of versatility class or award. It’s my understanding that this sort of thing used to be much more common.

It also recently dawned upon me that part of the reason our classes aren’t as large these days as they used to be may not be due to fewer overall horses at a show, but the fact that horses aren’t entering classes across multiple disciplines.Why don’t we do that anymore? I think in becoming more specialized we’ve edged out the exhibitors who can’t afford to own a horse for every division they want to compete in.

How have you seen versatility recognized at various shows? If you were running a show, how would you recognize versatility (ie, would you have some sort of running tally for a horse/rider throughout the course of the show, or have a specific class, etc)? Why do you think this is not as common as it used to be?

6 Responses to Morgan Versatility

  1. rubygirl82 says:

    So glad this has come up! I feel bad that the versatile Morgan has been lost as well. When I was a kid showing, and it was only about 15 years ago, we still had “the versatility” class and other fun classes like costume, ride a buck, jack/jenny and others. I remember how often I wore breaches under my chaps because I had a western class right before my hunt seat eq. class and we would have to do a hold to change the saddle on my horse. Once we did it from driving to classic pleasure. I haven’t shown in years, but I bet class holds for tack changes are rare if not non-existent now. My mare is 23 now and I have 2 tiny kids so I am out of showing entirely, however in a couple years when my kids get older and I get a new horse, I don’t know if I would want to even show again. It’s just not that fun anymore. Everything is so cut throat and no matter what anyone tries to say–it’s true, you have to have big money to compete. I don’t have big money and don’t care to compete when showing isn’t even fun anymore (to me). Big hunters can’t cross into the western division anymore because most of the time their manes are pulled to make a prettier hunter braid, an english horse cant cross to hunter because his toes are too long. It’s become too specialized for me. Lots of topics have been brought up about park and english horses coming down to hunter and western after their high stepping careers are over….I remember a horse who could show (and compete) in English pleasure AND western, the same show the same day. She didnt need weights, she didnt need nothing, she was awesome, she was a MORGAN!

  2. Trisha says:

    At the barn I’m with, pretty much all of our junior horses that are hunt/western will normally show in both divisions for both the ring time and to give them something a little different to do. A lot of people don’t like to put their three year olds in anything other than the junior horse division so that’s one qualifier and one championship per show. Showing really is expensive and when you are an owner with a horse that isn’t ready for you to show, wouldn’t you rather they get the ring-time they need without having to go to every single show? Same goes with an owner who wants to show multiple divisions and doesn’t want to have the added expenses of another horse. We’ve got a world champion hunter in the barn who shows western every once in a while. She prefers hunt so that’s mostly what she’ll do, but it’s common for her to show both divisions at the same show. Though still successful, she’s not shod like some hunters today and one of her most common compliments is that she looks how a hunter should look.

    And just to clarify to the above commenter, toe length has nothing to do with an english pleasure horse not dropping down to do hunt. Both have a five inch toe limit. And realistically, there are quite a few hunters out there shod like English pleasure and move as such (but only show hunt). It’s really not the length of the foot, it’s how the horse is shod and most english pleasure horses can’t move like a hunter when shod like an english pleasure horse.

  3. ElisabethK says:

    When I think of the Morgan as a versatile breed, I think more in terms of a breed that has a lot of varied individuals. I don’t fault showing for the fact that a western horse won’t do Eng. PL or a classic horse might not do western. I think of the Morgan breed as a breed that no matter what discipline you want, there’s a Morgan the fits the bill. They don’t have to cross over to be versitile.

  4. rubygirl82 says:

    I dont think anyone is saying Morgans are not versatile, and people are definately not saying that they HAVE to cross over in order to prove they are versatile. What I am thinking is why crossing over has become so rare and that I totally miss seeing a horse that can come from one class and turn right around and go in a totally different scope. Im not saying they have to-Im saying I miss that and that has taken me away from showing.

  5. Gvlizzie86 says:

    I miss the versatility too! I am one of the few people that still show my horse both hunt and western. We generally place top six in large classes. Unfortunately in the past few years we have become the only horse in the classes without weight on his feet in hunt. Sure I could throw some weight on and train him to pick up more, but that would make our western very uncomfortable and not as pretty in my opinion. It’s so frustrating to me that this is the trend, why not glorify natural movement? But thats another story. Back to versatility, I’m tired of getting my but kicked by quarter horse people in versatility classes, I would much rather lose to a MORGAN!

  6. ghfarm says:

    Our local show named a year end award after me a few years ago-for Morgan Versatility-because as a kid I would show my (sainted) gelding in English, driving and western for years. One of my favorite classes to watch still is the ride and drive.

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