Gaited Morgans… Journey of Pride

Gary, Bubby, SunnyOver 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.

Gray MaresWe 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.

Chandel LaurelWe purchased our first Morgan in 1986 who had a perfect trot and smooth rack—Chandel Laurel.

We continued the search for “Naturally Gaited Morgans”   A friend of ours who owned Rockies identified Western breeders who bred only for Gaited Morgans.

Silvershoe Highlander Demonstration at the 2006 AMHA Convention, Lexington, KY

Mary Mels Maestro and Gary on a beautiful Kentucky day

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.

Milestones in Gaited Morgans

Jellico Bliss

Jellico Bliss at the 2006 FOSH World Championship

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.

In 2006, Jellico Farms 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.

Silvershoe Sundance

Silvershoe Sundance at the 2008 Mountain Horse Show

Jellico Farms registered Gaited Morgans with three Mountain Associations and attended eight shows in 2008. The young stallion with only 45 days of training at the beginning of the 2008 season competed in five and over stallions and was always placed in the top five, and finished fifth at the World Championship 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. In November 2014, Gary appeared before the Quarterly AMHA Board of Directors meeting and presented a request to include the SynchroGaited Gene A test and to register the results in the horse’s record. The AMHA Board then gave final approval in February 2015 at the AMHA Convention. Test requests are submitted to the 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.

Jellico Gaited Morgans Breeding Goals SynchroGait AA buttonThere were no USEF Gaited Morgan classes, so 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 January 2018. The first classes were available in December 2018.