Diamond in the Rough
(I hope it’s alright to post this here).
I am a proud new Morgan owner. I have had horses for 24 years, but this is my first Morgan. This past June, I found her advertised for $250 on Craigslist (not exactly the place I would normally look for my next horse but her ad caught my eye). The poor mare was 22 years old, skinny, depressed, had improper hoof care, and an eye that needed attention (untreated injury from over a year before). Miraculously, she came with proper papers. I just paid the guy cash and got her out of there. After settling her into our round pen and setting up an appointment with our vet, I contacted the owner on the papers to make sure she wasn’t stolen. The previous owner was relieved to hear from me. The mare fell through the cracks after a lease to own type situation that went very wrong. The previous owner was not in a position to take her so, with her blessing, I registered her in my name. Wow, my first Morgan! I have admired the breed for a long time but have owned mostly stock horses or QH/Arab types. The first step was to give her a thorough vet evaluation and gain her trust (she was flighty and unsure at first). She only took a few days before she was following me around. She needed boosters of everything since the previous owner could produce no vet records of any kind for the year and a half he owned her. A trip to the local vet school for a thorough eye exam revealed good and bad news. She was blind in her right eye but it had healed up in such a way that the eye should not cause her any further trouble and did not need to be removed. She adapted well to being handled (the guy I bought her from had not handled much, if at all) despite her blindness. Long grooming sessions relaxed her and I taught her few verbal commands so she knew what to expect even if she couldn’t see it. She has filled out nicely and her coat is a lovely dark chestnut color now.
I am amazed at the combination of spirit and tractability of Morgans. She is a lot of horse but we seem to be developing a language to communicate. She has a good mind so she is coming around just fine. She is very affectionate. She nuzzles me and gently puts her head against my chest. Her history was as a saddle seat type horse so she is learning ‘slow, slow, slow’ instead of ‘go, go go’. I start out our riding sessions by having her stand while I rub her neck until she relaxes. No gimmicks or devices, just a snaffle bit and a little lunging prior to riding seems to work. I am a trail riding type myself. I also need a cowpony as my poor AQHA gelding has mild navicular now (the curse of stock horses). Perhaps she will enjoy that as well. If I feel brave enough, I might branch into dressage with her, we’ll see.
My only issue right now is finding a saddle that fits her properly. She has a little bit of a long back but with her naturally high head carriage, her back dips a little, not so bad as to be called ‘swayback’, but enough that I believe my Circle Y western saddle is bridging a little. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what type/brand of western saddle might fit her? A treeless saddle is out of our price range.