The Next Chapter

Emily Thorpe with her Morgan gelding Reuben-Ide Back Bay (Bayley)

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 Region 6 re-rider, whose confidence was built back up by two sweet Morgans. This is a story of new beginnings.

By Emily Thorpe

This story is about new beginnings and the many chapters our Morgan partners have to offer.

I was lucky enough to fall into the Pacific Northwest Morgan community as a teenager, learning to ride at Catherine Cloud’s Sea Cloud Morgans here in Washington state. I showed my beloved first Morgan Timmy (Intimidator) in hunter and western pleasure, and those are some of my best life memories. 

As I grew up, life and work interfered, and I was away from horses for 15 years.  I started my new beginning at the same time that our remarkable Morgan mare, Lydia Marking Time, was starting hers. Lydia was sired by my mother and trainer’s beloved stallion Dextrous Super Supreme (who was a 2003 reserve world champion in dressage). She was 18 and found her way to us after having spent time in her younger years as an eventer and occasional trail horse. 

I was cautious, worried, and uncomfortable in the saddle. She was kind, steady, out of practice, and willing to try anything. Together, with ever-patient training and coaching from our amazing trainer Lorinda Blue, we gained confidence and started our dressage life together. Slowly, at Intro Level, with tough scores but lots of good memories.  We learned, improved, and progressed to First Level together, competing until Lydia was 23. She was the Morgan Horse Club of Washington State First Level and Above high-point award winner in 2017. We also participated in western dressage and even a little hunter hack! 

Lydia then gave Lorinda’s young daughter a new beginning, showing a little girl what a best friend and partner is, and provided her an opportunity to trot down centerline for the very first time. Lydia’s sire meant everything to our mothers, and she meant everything to us. We lost our beloved Lydia in 2021, but she will never be forgotten and we are all better for having had her in our lives.

A new chapter of my horse life progressed and brought with it a new Morgan gelding, Reuben-Ide Back Bay (Bayley). He was 10 years old, and a former driving and hunter pleasure horse. He was totally new to dressage and had strong opinions about how things should be (and a healthy skepticism of trotting past the judge’s table)! Lorinda has the incredible gift of seeing horse and human not for what they are now, but for what they can become, and she worked with us as we learned, re-learned, and, ever so slowly, built trust with each other. 

 In 2019, Bayley was USEF National Reserve Champion and USEF Region 8 Champion for Morgan Dressage Training Level (amateur), received a USDF Horse Performance Certificate at Training Level, placed in the Adequan®/USDF All-Breeds Awards and received the Morgan Dressage Association Training Level Champion award. Bayley has a vision impairment that now impacts his comfort level off the farm, but we continue to enjoy showing in both traditional and western dressage shows together on location and I couldn’t ask for a better partner.

I have learned so much from these two phenomenal Morgans, the least of which is that our first chapters do not define us and that there is so much joy to be found in turning the next corner. Not sure where the road will lead — but certain that there will be love, learning, and adventure!

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