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Hi! I'm Julia from Vermont. I'm working on training a Morgan who used to be shown saddleseat, but is now going hunter due to back problems. Looking for tips on transitioning to a new bit, working on ground manners (he's very spirited!) and any general advice! :pinkunicorn:
 

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Hi & welcome,

First & foremost, you can't post a new thread about your morgan without showing us pictures of said beastie!!<TIC>

What is your training experience? Do you have a trainer or experienced friend to help/advise? Not familiar with the discipline of 'saddleseat' or why it might have caused 'back problems' while 'hunter' will be OK?? What exactly are the back problems? Is he/has he been treated for it & improved/ing, or does he have a permanent/current 'back issue'?

As for changing the bit, what bit does he have now & what/why are you wanting to change to? I teach horses firstly in a halter, before asking them to accept/respond to a bit, and I'd also get everything going well on the ground before riding. Lack of 'ground manners' may be that he's just never been taught - plenty of people only really train a horse under saddle & ignore behaviours on the ground. Or it may be he's anxious & reactive, may be that something you're doing/not doing is causing him to be 'pushy'... without further info on what exactly you mean by 'spirited' etc, can't give much specifics.
 

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My wife is still looking for a Morgan. She had a black Morgan when I met her in 1972. Yes pictures.

Sent from my SM-S205DL using Tapatalk
 

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Hi Julia, welcome! Like everyone else, I'd love to see pictures, and feel free to share his pedigree if you're comfortable doing that!

As far as transitioning your guy from his saddleseat career, I have some of the same questions as @loosie , and wonder if you are also taking lessons yourself? Is he going to continue a show career, but in hunters (hunter pleasure or working/hunter over fences)? In Morgan or open shows? Most likely he was started in a snaffle bit before he moved to a double bridle, so I'm wondering about your question related to transitioning his bit- what specific bit are you trying to transition to, and what kind of issues/concerns are you having?

Do you have access to trails where you can handwalk and/or hack him out to give him a break from his show training? Being "high spirited" is certainly valued in the Morgan show ring, I get that. They are such kind, eager-to-please horses that giving them some down time and long, quiet rides out in the world does them a world of good mentally and helps build a great relationship with their rider/handler. If he's too high strung to ride him out on trails now, just getting him out for trail walks is a great start, and then add riding in as you're both growing more confident with the idea. Finally, if you use Facebook, do you follow the Tamarack Hill Farm (Denny Emerson) page? We're not allowed to post links to Facebook on this website, but Denny is a huge promoter of Morgans of all types and he's got a couple of younger showbred mares right now that spend most of their time hacking out on trail. They've been fun to follow in their transformations.

I am also in Vermont and have three Morgan mares. My oldest, now 26, started life in the Morgan show world (placing well in young horse classes at shows like CT Morgan) but that is decades in the rearview mirror for her. She was a family horse for many years, dabbled in local shows, 4-H, trails with their kids, and then spent some time as a therapy horse before I met her when she was 18 years old and she became a low level dressage/trail horse. She's been retired a couple of years because of a bad Lyme infection, though she's still healthy and sound, just lacking muscle. The next oldest is also mid-20s and mostly retired from an endurance career. The youngest, 13, is an aspiring endurance horse who has a hunter/jumper past before I got her.

Here are my three:
Fizz (Windfield Effervescence)


Izzy (Tara's Isabel)


Maggie (Juneson's Image)


 

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Welcome to the forum! I'm in Western Mass not far from the VT border, and have a Morgan too. She was rescued in utero from an abandoned breeding herd in California and I haven't been able to find her parents, but she is all Morgan. I acquired her unstarted, for a trail horse, although we are beginning to dabble in dressage.
 

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