Jasluca, of TRR Sporthorses and Saddlebreds. He does have a bit of that classic Saddlebred long back (that is often swayed, even at the National levels and on young horses) and unbalanced front-to-hind ratio that I dislike, but he's alright. I just noticed, are those soring chains on his rear pasterns? We're going to have to have a blog about that soon too. That's ridiculous.
CH Shoobop Shoobop is another Saddlebred stallion, of Bluebonnet Farm. Your classic Saddlebred stallion and a pretty nice looker as well.
Heir Delivery, of Three Ridges Farm, has got to be my favourite Saddlebred stud yet (of these four). He is very well-balanced, which seems to be rare in the Saddlebred world. He's got a short, strong, back and I love that hind end! He's got substance and beauty and yet still looks like a Saddlebred (look at that head and neck!), and he's got the world-class bloodlines to prove it.
FCF Esprit De Lark, of Rendition Morgan Farm. What, you say? A Morgan? Y'know, because for a minute there, I almost thought it was a Saddlebred! I mean, he looks almost identical in type to the Saddlebred stallion above! Okay, so I'm being a little exaggerant (new word?) here. If you study the photo enough, preferably until you go cross-eyed, you can actually tell it's a Morgan, and not a Saddlebred. Save for a few minute differences only a trained eye can see, this horse could (almost) be a classic Saddlebred. He even shows in saddleseat classes. Hey, it's like a Morgan, in Saddlebred clothes! Here, I've got a few more (all helped along by that retarded pose Arabian, Saddlebred, and Morgan breeders all seem to think is so absolutely necessary, lol - no offense meant):
I want to say he's gorgeous, but on the other hand, that's a pretty long back...one that looks like it might be swayed when he finally straightens those legs out. War and Peace, of Sebring Stables.
Hey, here's another Morgan in Saddlebred clothing! Hillock Showson, World Champion Morgan (he's 2/3 of the way down). World Champion, even with a back like that. One of his daughters, Mariah, has the exact same terrible back...though is it the back, or just the way the shoulder and neck is situated on the back?? I'm not so sure anymore... *sigh* why can't horses just have normal conformation?
Whatever happened to the real Morgans, the ones that looked like this:
Justin Morgan, also known as Figure, the founding sire of the Morgan breed. I realise this is just a painting...but there's no way in heck that little horse was able to pull logs and such looking like a Saddlehorse. No way. He had to have been a stout-built horse - the Saddlebred look that breeders seem to be going for nowadays is (from what I understand) the result of crossing Saddlebreds and Arabians into the lines. Now I have nothing against those crosses, and I have to admit I particularly love the Morabs, but they're Morabs, or Saddlebred/Morgans...not Morgans! I'm not sure how the registries work though, if they're allowing these crosses to be called Morgans? I am not all that familiar with the Morgan registries and their associated rules. Or is it just a matter of particular selective breeding, of people breeding for that Saddlebred look?? Same follows for the Arabians, as mentioned above. I'm not sure how the registries all work and so how we're getting these Arabians that look nothing like the original desert horses. I have a feeling though, with Arabians, it has more to do with selective breeding than the infusion of outside breeds though. I do have to admit that I think there is less of this type of thing going on in the Arabian world than in the Morgan world. Most Arabian breeders seem to actually be breeding quality horses that follow the breeding of the Arabians on the other side of the world (though, just to point out, I doubt any North American can do it like the Bedouins, Poles, Syrians, Egyptians, Russians, etc do - they've been breeding those horses for centuries within their families and have careful plans and books for doing so). But anyhow, back to the Morgan. Here, in my opinion, is what a real Morgan should look like:
A Morgan mare - Shock And Awe (Cedarcreek Harlequin X Bef Cece), at Skyloft Morgans in Maine (photo credit to Rendition Morgans, WA.
THI Cherokee, of Jericho Creek Farms. He's about 2/3 of the way down the page and you can also click on his info to see more outstanding photos of him. He's also not their only fabulous foundation-bred stallion! Here's a little clip of what they say about this outstanding stallion:
"Critter" is a wonderful blend of the old Morgan bloodlines that are hard to find these days."
They seem to be right. Hopefully more like them keep up the old bloodlines that result in horses more akin to Figure than the Saddlebred-lookalikes that are running around these days.
Here's another good one, CL's Ready to Run.
So, that's my rant on those two breeds. As I said, I'm not too sure how or why these two breeds are being bred in such a way, and I greatly feel that Morgans are the worse off. It seems that Arabian breeders are, for the most part, keeping to the original Arabian type. The associations are sure trying to do so and I think the judges are keeping to the original Arabian type - the horse with substance but with the level of elegance only the Arabian can have.
The Morgans though, seem to be changing. Obviously some of the "old-type" Morgans are still winning (Cherokee, above, has won in halter), but obviously these newer Saddlebred-types (or Arabian-type, I mean some of them even look a lot more Arabian almost than Morgan!!) are also winning. I hope the breeds stick to the original horses overall. Keep the Saddlebreds (lovely horses when bred correctly) within the Saddlebreds, and the Morgans and Arabians within their respective breeds. Obviously cross-breeding is essential to developing a new breed or sometimes particular crosses just make fabulous crosses themselves (even if not to develop a new breed, specifically), but I strongly believe we should be maintaining the original breed - if developing a new type of Morgan (for example), is a specific goal, then it should be developed as a new breed, not as the old breed, but changing.
Just as a related side-note, if you take a look at the portrait of Figure, you can still see even the "newer" Morgans in him - just look it his shoulder/neck and how it blends into his back, and his hinquarters, as well as the head. They all still have him in there and are all still Morgans essentially, it's just that it's like people have taken that horse - Figure, and made extremes of him. Perhaps through selective breeding (rather than the infusion of Saddlebred or Arabian). To really know how or why the breeds have changed would take some in-depth research and knowledge of these breeds and their bloodlines. All I can personally really say, is that I do not like it, regardless of how it's done.
Maybe I'm just stuck in my ways, but I absolutely love those old Morgans, they're absolutely gorgeous. They've got the substance to do anything yet also a little refinement. I just feel like perhaps these "new" Morgans (and some Arabians) are being developed much the same way the Quarter Horse halter horse is: a horse that is developed more for show than for use. That would be a shame.
On another related note, I hope the same is not following for the Saddlebreds and Tenessee Walkers (etc). It seems a lot of the gaited/saddleseat horses are coming out with these long long backs. Long backs that eventually (if not from the very beginning) sway! There were a few Saddlebreds boarded at one of the places I used to board at; one bay mare in particular had competed at the National level in Canada (and US??). She wasn't all that old, approx. 14, and her back was swayed beyond belief, as well as very long. Yet she'd been winning! On the other hand, perhaps those types win in the performance classes but not in the halter classes? Anyways, the Saddlebreds I posted above, while (2 of the 4) throwing perhaps a bit to that long back and disproportionate front versus hind end, are still pretty good representatives of the breed. That, to me, is about whereabouts the breed should look. I'm not sure how much curvature in the spine is acceptable to a horse, where or when, or even if, pain and discomfort would begin to play a role when ridden due to such a swayed back, but I doubt it's something we should be breeding for (and some obviously are).
*sigh* sometimes you just wish you could shake some people and restrict others from breeding. On the other hand, this is a free country and they are certainly entitled to their opinion too. I just wish their opinion paralleled mine sometimes, LOL, but then where would the fun be in that? And, as difficult as it is to admit it, really, who says they're not right, with their long-backed, disproportionate Saddlebreds and Saddlebred-looking Arabians and Morgans?? *sigh* I suppose we'll never know, haha.