Gaited Morgans…Journey of Pride
Over the years, many photos have been lost showing Gary’s Dad holding him on horseback and on the International Harvester built the same year Gary was born. But luckily we still have a photo of Gary’s pony and the family picture of these white/grey mares. There were many other horses on the farm as far back as Gary can remember which were purebred ASB or TWH mares and foals born with cross of Gary’s pony born on same day and year as Gary. Plus a couple old mules, Jack and Pete, left over from the grain farming with teams by his Dad.
We became interested in Gaited Morgans after seeing a Morgan gait at a national Morgan show. We quizzed many breeders if there were “Gaited Morgans.” The answer was always: NO.
We purchased our first Morgan in 1986 who had a perfect trot and smooth rack. We initiated the search again. A friend of ours owning Rockies Identified Western breeders who bred Gaited Morgans.
A trip was made to Wyoming in 2000 and our first Gaited Morgan stallion and mare were purchased. These Gaited Morgans did naturally what our mare did only under the perfect conditions. The following years meant more purchases and our first foals. During this period we registered our prefix Jellico. The reason was based on the fact of over 25 years of searching showed us there were many Morgan owners who would not like to see the words “Gaited Morgans.” The name was selected based on the Jellico Mountain in Tennessee—it is a terrible climb towing a trailer to get to the top. We assumed would be the same climb to get the Gaited Morgan recognized as legitimate and true Morgans.
Gary was awarded AMHA Promoter Award for Gaited Morgans in 2002. Over the years from 2004 through current, many great things have happened in addition to breeding. Friends of Sound Horses, FOSH, President and Head of the Independent Judges Association, IJA, asked Gary to write the judging rules to be used for Gaited Morgan classes at FOSH Shows. This was finished in 2005 and Jellico Farms participated in the 2006 World Championships of FOSH in Lexington, VA. Also Jellico Farms in 2006 was asked to demonstrate Gaited Morgans under saddle and in hand at the AMHA Convention and participated in KYOVA Morgan show included Gaited Morgan classes with five participants. During 2006 and 2007 Gary wrote articles published in the Morgan Horse Magazine, internet magazines and Jellico Farms horses were included in other author’s articles. Jellico Farms got Gaited Morgans registered with three Mountain Associations and attended 8 shows in 2008. The young stallion with only 45 days of training at the beginning of the 2008 season competed in 5 and over stallions and was always placed in the top 5 and finished 5th at the World Championships against 18 other horses. Jellico was asked to send DNA samples to participate in a study by Capilets from Sweden to develop a gene A test. This test became available to the public in 2014. Gary appeared before the Nov 2014 Quarterly AMHA BOD meeting and presented a request to include the SynchroGaited Gene A test and to register the results in the horse’s record. The AMHA BOD then gave final approval in Feb 2015 at the AMHA Convention. Test requests are submitted to AMHA Registrar for testing through UC Davis. The test would find one of three results: AA–Homozygous for gait; CA–Heterzygous for gait; or CC–walk/trot/canter. There are no USEF Gaited Morgan classes. Gary submitted a proposal and class rules for inclusion of Gaited Morgans. The USEF Morgan Committee reviewed this at the 2017 AMHA Convention and agreed to have the proposal go through the various stages required by USEF with final decision in Jan 2018.