Morgan Breed Marketability

In some ways this topic piggy-backs on the “Lack of Young Stock” discussion. But even though it’s related it is a different conversation so I decided to post a new thread.

A “facebook friend” of mine who’s a reputable Morgan breeder in the northwest recently posted a question on facebook that got a lot of feedback. Basically she was curious what thoughts folks had on why there’s not a larger buyer’s base for Morgans. A long, long thread of replies followed. Many responses made good comments about how the breed as a whole should focus more on the sport horse market. One comment in particular stood out to me, because it made specific points. The points were basically as follows:

1) Reining, dressage, driving, jumping, and eventing are all recognized Olympic sports with international markets. Therefore these markets are the most likely to thrive long-term. Morgans in particular are suited to dressage and driving, so we should be pursuing these markets.

2) Aside from pursuing these markets with purebred stock, another way to gain a foothold would be to campaign to warm-blood breeds to have Morgan blood approved as an “improvement blood” outcross. (One thing I really like about this idea is that I think it would help prevent a loss of true Morgan type as there would be no need to try to manipulate the pure-bred stock. Instead of trying to breed Morgans that look like sport horses, we could breed Morgans that look like Morgans and cross those Morgans with warm-bloods to get our sport horses)

3) Have distinctions between Morgan ponies (-14.3h) and Morgan horses. The Morgan ponies could be very competitive as a sport pony. Their primary competition would be the Welsh and Connemara ponies which can have challenging temperaments. (his words, not mine)

Frankly I’m 100% on board with the first 2 points. The last I’m not so sure about. As a small breed I’m not convinced that dividing us further will help us grow. What do you think of these suggestions? What would your suggestions be? Even if this would help the breed as a whole, could you imagine it actually happening?

5 Responses to Morgan Breed Marketability

  1. empressive says:

    I can personally weigh in on the Morgans becoming an approved outcross for legitimate WB breeds. Judges, breeders, trainers, alike would laugh at the mention of such an idea. It’s a joke to piggy back on WBs, although it is a nice idea. AWS is a joke. Definitely not a good idea. It would cost a stallion owner a lot of money 12k more less if lucky to campaign for stud approval in some breeds. It would take 3 or more generations to approve a Morgan X into a stud book and by the time a supreme individual made premium the Morgan would be terribly diluted. Now the breed is catching on in other nations. That could be a boon we have overlooked.

  2. RaeOfLight says:

    Hey empressive. Thanks for the feedback. I’m honestly not familiar with the process to get approved as a WB outcross. Why would it be a joke? Why would it take 3 or more generations? I didn’t realize approval was specific to a certain horse. Based on the way the suggestion was worded it sounded like the breed as a whole could get some sort of blanket consideration.

  3. empressive says:

    You’re welcome, I have taken a bit of time to become fairly familiarized with the WB way of things, both Euro and American. Being approved as a WB a horse must have at the least 50% approved blood on the pedigree to be consider for a certificate. From their the sets go up and there are books which go with the registration for approved stallions and mares.

    50% means a first gen outcross to a WB stud. But as for the foal making a book it all depends on how strict the association is. A foal out of mare that is Morgan would have a better chance of being accepted. A stallion would have to go to testing approval. That is expensive. It is not like “in-hand” approvals and requires riding work as well. That’s just to be able to “possibly” get his offspring out of WB mares approved. Then you would have to consider the mixed bag of genetics going into the foal. What would make it honestly desirable to make Premium and get into a Book? 3 generations is certainly not or maybe enough time to breed a significant individual to compete against the likes of the following…
    http://holsteiner-verband.de/front_content.php?idcat=122

    Remember as well stigma. WB’s have forever been outcrossed to TB blood. On occasion a Arab blood has slipped in, but only on the most conspicuous of occasions. Some breeds accept more Arab blood granted, but there is a supreme type that gauges these breeds and it is different from Morgan type which makes crossing the two a big question on what kind of quality can be expected. I have seen breeders try and attempt to introduce American blood to WB’s and associations have continually disregarded them. Not to mention approvals is a hard process and extremely strict. I have followed a QH breeder with a silver line of QH’s attempt to get color into a WB breed. Nothing in the books as of yet, but I do need to check back.

    Currently Morgans do not receive the animosity other breeds see in the ring. The judgement is still out on our breed and their ability to perform. AWS is a joke as as they take anything that has four hooves. Yes they have req’s, but they are absolutely nothing to the real associations.

    Yes, approval is specific to every horse that is bred. Foals are taken to a show then when older they are taken to approvals. From there stallions go on to testing to approved for breeding. Take for instance the fact that WB’s an be accepted into different associations? But some associations still refuse stallions or mares to be entered from different WB “breeds”. AHHA is one of the strictest.

    Blanket considerations are more like the association looks favorably on a breed over another. The horse must still go to approvals and be placed in a book.

    You mentioned previously that the “Olympic” type sports receive more interest than other disciplines? There is a trend towards a more “curvaceous” horse with more action and reach, higher head set etc. This is a bit biased towards a horse with those abilities already. Currently there is a re-infusion of TB blood to lighten WB stock throughout many breeds. That being said… I shall interject my own personal opinion. I believe a Morgan today has a chance with the correct training & size to compete well against WB’s of today. Maybe not in the arena of jumping. One would be hardpressed to beat one in jumping.

    The page below is for the Selle Francais rules and regulations. At the beginning it talks about the books, and how horses are considered within the breed. It is a good read for anyone that is interested in a different way of registering horses.
    http://www.ansf-us.com/rules–regulations.html

  4. Jennifer says:

    1)AGreed, now convince trainers this is a profitable direction. That will never happen! The show system and profit margins they have in place are working for them. Morgans are marketed to the show ring market not the reining or dressage; therefore, a majority of the horses in reining and dressage are culls from the show ring market. Although, this isn’t always the case it does happen most of the time.

    2)The AWS is a joke because they approve anything. Warmblood Keurings have very specific requirements for consistent confirmation and performance. A foal is presented and judge. That foal would grow up and need to compete with excellent scores. Then reproduce a foal of its own that would compete with excellent scores. That would then produce a foal of its own that would produce consistent performance scores. That all costs LOTS of money and time.

  5. RaeOfLight says:

    1) I’ve been thinking about this a bit over the last few weeks Jennifer, and I think the answer is that the SS trainers can keep doing what they’re doing. I don’t think we need to STOP anyone from pursuing Saddleseat with Morgans. If they can fill up their barns then more power to them! I hope they can continue to fill up their barns! What we need to do is continue to support them, but also support the George Morrises, Suzy Staffords, McFalls, etc. The sport horse issue of TMH should be arriving in our mailboxes in the next few weeks. Last year’s issue was phenomenal. I hope they can follow it up with something just as good this year.

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