“The Treasured Blood of the Old and New World!”
by Linda Stahl
Both the Arabian and Morgan have been historically recognized for their ability to pass on many of their outstanding qualities to their offspring no matter what breeds are improved by their heritage.
The Arabian is considered to be the oldest breed of horse in the world and nearly all fine breeds world-wide carry Arabian blood.
The Morgan horse, America’s first breed, shares a similar distinction: their blood flows in many of America’s breeds—the American Saddlebred, Standardbred, Tennessee Walking Horse, and American Quarter Horse.
Thus, the Morab horse carries the treasured blood of both the old and new worlds!
From the Arabian, the Morab inherits classic beauty, yet also hundreds of years of breeding that produced an equine with tremendous endurance. Arabians have been crossed for centuries to improve other endurance strains throughout the world.
Many of the Arabian’s traits of beauty are also responsible for their superior breathing system: large nostrils, concave or dished profile, clean and refined throatlatch, broad chest, deep hearth, and full ribs that are well sprung—all allow for great air intake and lung capacity. It is little wonder that Arabians were nicknamed “drinker of the winds.”
In the new world, the development of the Morgan breed was enriched by Arabian blood to a large extent, and they share most of the same conformational traits. In the 1800’s, Morgans won fame as stylish, muscular, powerful, sturdy horses with great stamina, for trotting, running, and pulling. So outstanding were the Morgan’s qualities that they were the breed selected and bred by the United States government.
To appreciate the Morab’s inherited qualities and justify the cross, one needs to further examine the outstanding conformation and traits of its ancestors and how closely they parallel.
Both the Arabian and Morgan head is considered among the most beautiful in the horse world, but this distinction goes far beyond beauty and serves them functionally as well.
The ears are small, alert, curved inward, and set wide on the poll; this allows for quick mobility to pick up the should around them.
The eyes are large, dark, and expressive, and set wide apart. Horses have binocular vision (they see separately with each eye). The size and placement of the eye are crucial to quick and accurate perception.
The beauty of the refined and “dished” face is also functional. It allows for increased visual field (downward) as well as for increased air intake.
The small muzzle and firm lip, while visually pleasing, also disclose a good tooth structure—good bite. This is necessary for nutritional utilization, easy keeping qualities, and consequently—increased longevity. For these and other reasons, both are insurable longer than other breeds.
In the neck area, the Morab inherits a refined and arched neck of good length. It hinges well at the head in a clean, refined manner, which allows for easy air passage and mobility of flexion—both necessary for good bridling and versatility no matter what the equestrian discipline. The neck is also set on clean and elegantly to a long, well-sloped shoulder. This too affords Morabs versatile athletic ability.
The over-all look of the Morab’s body is refined and elegant, yet muscular. It has a powerful, short-coupled back (five vertebrae instead of the usual six) inherited from both the Arabian and Morgan. The chest is relatively wide. The barrel is rather round and deep with well-sprung ribs, and the flank is deep and full.
The hindquarters are one of the most important traits inherited from its ancestors. The croups are strong and slightly rounded, relatively heavy in the muscle on hips and of good length. The tail is set high and carried in a stylish and graceful manner.
The old saying “no foot, no horse” is one of the most important and functional traits inherent in Morabs. The Arabian historically was fast, quick, and fleet of foot, racing across the desert for great distances. The Morab inherits their broad, hard, round hoof, low at the heel. From the Morgan, they inherit many of these characteristics, but also a wonderful formation of leg bone. The Morgan breed as a whole, is know for a minimum of foot and leg troubles that often plague other breeds. Obviously, this was one of the crucial reasons the United States government chose them as breeding stock.
The Morab’s movement and style are also impressive and unique! From the Arabian lineage, it inherits a classic, free flowing stride, accentuated by the flirtful, flagging tail. From the Morgan, a high, stylish, extremely powerful and vigorous, natural way of going. With such outstanding inherited movement, is it any wonder that Morabs stand out!
The parallels between Arabians and Morgans, their classic yet functional beauty, their loving dispositions, their inherent soundness, stamina, and endurance, and their ability to pass these traits so consistently to offspring, have truly influenced the equine species.
This blending—The Morab—offers the equine world a versatile athlete for a child or adult to pursue equestrian dreams: dressage, eventing, jumping, endurance, gymkhana, driving, cutting, reining, stock, equitation, park, parade, trail, and pure pleasure!
Morabs truly carry treasured blood—the best of the old and the new world!