The Future of the Morgan

So the other day I was wondering about the next generation of the Morgan breed and how the breed will progress and evolve, and I started wondering who will be the “in” trainers, what stallion will be the trend, and what horses will look like, in say, 20 or 30 years from now.

How do you think the look of the breed is going to evolve?  Do you think we are going to continue in the direction of Saddlebreds, do you think the refinement that we prize in our horses today will turn into Arab-y looking horses?  Do you think we will begin to value old Morgan type again?  Or do you think we’ll head in a completely different direction?

For breeding, are there any young stallions or mares that you see and believe that they could make an impact on the breed?    Any bloodlines that you think will become more popular?  Do you think the influence from the Flair lines will die down as the years go on, or do you think that it will continue to be present in practically every modern show horse?

As for trainers, do you see any Junior Exhibitors that seem like they will want to pursue a profession with horses?  It seems like the trend today is for all the Junior Exhibitors to keep their horses in training 12 months a year, go to ride them once or twice a week and show them.  Then, when they’re 17 or 18, they go off to college and perhaps continue in the Amateur ranks for a few years before leaving the breed behind completely.  I worry about this issue in particular, because I’m afraid that there will be no one to replace some of the incredibly talented trainers that (unfortunately) will eventually retire.

Training methods obviously vary greatly, but what do you believe will be common as far as training methods go?  Do you believe that the newfound trend of Natural Horsemanship will find it’s way into Saddleseat barns?  Or do you think we will go in the direction of being more heavy handed?  For all you current trainers, what philosophies and training methods are you trying to instill in your Junior Exhibitors?

These are questions we have to think about for the sake of the breed.  We are shaping the history of the Morgan horse as we speak, and we need to insure that it doesn’t die out.  Every year I see fewer and fewer Youth and Junior Exhibitors at the shows and we need to recruit more young people, as the future of our breed lays in their hands down the road.  Acceptance of colorful Morgans, Academy classes, these are all great places to start, but we need to make sure that our wonderful breed does not die out!

2 Responses to The Future of the Morgan

  1. I am not going to venture a guess as to what bloodlines will be popular. I think refinement, particularly in the neck/poll ,will continue to be bred, just because a hingey horse can set up more easily. I still believe the Morgan type overall will revert to a norm, now that DNA bars outside breeding, and only certain families with heavy inbreeding will keep a distinct look (to their eventual disadvantage, as recessive problems start to crop up). Talented individuals will continue to make a big splash, but within 2 generations you will see their get reverting to a Classic form unless they are heavily inbred. Genetic manipulation to reduce the impact of bad recessive genes may be possible, but probably not economical. The big changes wrought in the Morgan Show Horse’s appearance and ability were made possible by bringing in outside blood in a number of cases (and I am not talking only about midnite breedings. Careful selection of horses with a high percentage of Saddlebred blood was perfectly legal-but that blood is now diluted). That avenue is now closed. We have to work with what we have. Talented breeders will still produce talented horses, but probably not as “radical” as in the past.

  2. RaeOfLight says:

    This is an excellent and gargantuan topic. One I’ve often thought about bringing up here, but have never taken the time to think it through as well as you have CC, so thanks for that.

    I don’t have time or authority to respond to all items properly, but I will say I know a number of younger (under 30ish) trainers who I believe will come up behind the current big-timers and fill those shoes nicely. Although, I also believe that as we get further and further from the time when the horse was a utilitarian part of life, involvement in horses will become smaller and smaller and more and more specialized across all breeds.

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