Born on the Fourth of July: A Real Americana Horse

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The versatile Morgan Horse! We are celebrating this breed as our June Breed of the Month on YourDressage! We asked our social media followers what makes Morgans their favorite breed, and got an overwhelming response.

Did you know that dressage riders who choose Morgans as their mounts are eligible for special awards through the Adequan®/USDF All-Breeds Awards program, as the American Morgan Horse Association Inc. (AMHA) is a participating organization?

Here, a horse named Indy serves as an ambassador for not one, but TWO American breeds, showcasing the best of both with his ability to cross disciplines and steal the hearts of everyone he meets. 

By Tiffany Corson

To say Indy is my heart horse is an understatement. 

I chose a half Morgan cross because I knew I wanted a versatile horse who had the physicality and the temperament to work across any discipline. I’ve had a love of Morgans since I had my very first mare, who was an amazing Morgan/Quarter Horse cross. Since then, I’ve always known that I wanted another Morgan cross. 

My in-laws have been breeding American Creams for many years. American Cream Draft Horses are a rare breed, the only draft breed to originate in the United States. I loved their sweet dispositions and calm temperaments, and I knew that a Morgan/Cream cross would produce a great horse. So, I convinced my in-laws to breed a Morgan mare to one of their American Cream studs. 

Independence was born on the fourth of July, 2002 to a Morgan dam and American Cream sire. 

Throughout his life Indy has not only been an incredible ambassador for both breeds, but also a member of my family… he has lived with me since he was weaned!

Without Indy, I would have never pushed out of my comfort zone. When my family moved to West Virginia so I could attend Meredith Manor, Indy came with us. At Meredith Manor, he began his training in several disciplines: eventing, jumping, dressage, driving, and even vaulting. 

When I enrolled, I planned on only studying dressage. Eventing and jumping were sports that scared me, and I had no intention of learning them. 

Indy changed that. 

Throughout his training, Indy excelled at every discipline, but his passion was jumping. He absolutely loved eventing and jumping, and I didn’t feel like it was fair to let my fear get in the way. So, I started learning. 

Now, not only have Indy and I competed in dressage, eventing, and jumping, but both of my boys have ridden him as a 4-H horse in Pony Club, western, dressage, and eventing. 

Indy’s performance across multiple disciplines has caught the eye of several organizations. He’s placed in many eventing, jumping, and dressage shows, modeled for and received his own Stone Horse, and, out of hundreds of draft crosses, Indy was chosen by the Draft Cross Breeders and Owners Association to receive the Rising Star Award for Most Awarded Half Draft. These honors are fantastic on their own, but they also give me an opportunity to educate people about both Morgans and American Creams. Since Indy is a cross of two American heritage breeds, he is an incredible ambassador for both, as he is a living showcase of both breeds’ versatility, disposition, and work ethic. 

Indy’s value isn’t just in his performance, but in his personality. He’s gentle, level-headed, and an absolute goober. And it’s not like Indy hasn’t enjoyed the attention that he’s gotten…he’s a total ham. During a dressage show, I was doing warmups with Indy and he stopped in one corner and started pawing. I checked to make sure he was okay, and seeing nothing wrong, I got him going again. But again, he stopped in the same corner and pawed the ground. After a couple more times, I looked around, trying to figure out why he kept doing that. Then, I saw a woman taking pictures of him. Indy wasn’t misbehaving, he was posing! For the rest of the warm-up, I sang “You’re So Vain” to him. Now, whenever Indy pauses like that during a warm-up, I know to look for a camera. 

He also loves Cheez-Its, maybe a little too much. Once, when one of my students brought some into the arena while I was riding, Indy followed her, cutting her like a cow until he got her into a corner and wouldn’t let her go until she gave him a Cheez-It. Once she did, he trotted off, very pleased with himself. 

Indy will be 20 this year, and this week, he underwent surgery for stringhalt (Equine Reflex Hypertonia). When I went to pick him up at the vet, he was in the stall facing away from me with his head hanging, looking very sorry for himself. I asked, “Indy, why’d you put yourself in the corner?” and he whinnied for me. I went into the stall to pet him, and he put his head on my shoulder and pulled me into a big hug. 

I’ve made the difficult decision that, after he recovers from his surgery, he’s going to retire at our family farm. He’ll spend the rest of his days grazing the green mountain pastures and teaching the next generation of American Cream crosses to be as amazing as he is. 

I feel absolutely blessed to have had Indy his whole life. He has been the best partner my boys and I could have ever asked for, and I look forward to sharing this next chapter of his life with him.

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