My wife and I became interested and purchased our first Morgan in 1986. This mare from time to time would go into this smooth gait with no sway or bounce. We quizzed many breeders asking if there were Gaited Morgans. The answer was always: "NO."
While reading an equine magazine in 1996, it mentioned a small group forming a Morgan Single Footing Horse Club who was promoting Gaited Morgans. This was, as the proverbial saying goes, "Just what the Doctor Ordered". My running in combat boots in the military for 20 years had started to show up in leg, hip, and back pains.
The "Gaited Morgans" did naturally what our mare did only under the perfect conditions. The origin of the gait in the Morgan breed is a great mystery. There are many theories from those that Figure was bred to gaited mares originally to the gaining of gait as the result of legal outcrosses. These "extra" gaits have probably always been in the Morgan, but denied for decades or were culled/bred out.
Gaited Morgans are often called "singlefooters", but may do a variety of intermediate gaits between the walk and canter. These gaits can include:
- Stepping Pace - an uneven 1-2 3-4-beat
- Running Walk - an even 1-2-3-4-beat
- Foxtrot - the only diagonal gait (opposite front/rear legs move together) and is an uneven 1-2 3-4 beat
- Finally there is what some call the "singlefoot"/saddle gait - one hoof at a time hits the ground and this is at an even interval 1-2-3-4-beat gait. This gait is smooth and fast. This is the gait Jellico Farms is trying to achieve with our breeding program. The even four-beat gait has been compared to riding in a Cadillac versus an old worn out farm pickup. It is this plus some.
Gaited Morgans have a great temperament and seems to want to please the rider.
Jellico Farms participated in a Gaited Morgans demonstration at the Kentucky Horse Park as part of the AMHA 2006 Annual convention. To read about our preparation and how the demonstration day became a reality, click HERE.