I spent a good deal of my adult life riding, showing and breeding Morgan horses. The interesting thing about Morgan horses today is the controversy over two distinct different body types.
Some owners and breeders prefer what is called an “old type Morgan.” These are the shorter, stockier horses that are not appreciated in the Morgan show rings. They are actually hard-working little ponies with incredible spirit and stamina. Then there are the “Show Morgans.” These guys are taller, leaner with swan-like necks and they move with dramatic high leg action. Some people argue they’re not Morgans at all but rather Saddlebreds in disguise. If you want to be competitive in the Morgan show ring you better be astride or driving such a horse.
Because people are saner when it comes to Morgan horse body type they don’t expect to turn an old type Morgan into a winning show horse with diet and exercise. They breed show Morgan stallions to show Morgan mares to get show Morgans.
Those same people who understand the limitations of genetics and body type are among the large population of humans who expect their bodies to be able to change in ways they recognize their horses’ bodies cannot.
The following is a discussion of basic horse body types that relate to basic human body types. Because humans engage in lots of crossbreeding (choosing mates with different body types than their own) there are lots of sub categories. For the purposes of this blog, I’m not going to go into much detail with sub categories.
Ever compare your body to a horse? No! Seriously, I’m not talking about “as big as a horse,” or “eats like a horse!” Chances are you haven’t but horse breeds have distinctive body types and it helps us to understand ours.
Thoroughbreds (it’s a breed; it isn’t a term to describe a horse with a pedigree as opposed to a mixed-breed horse) are the Ectomorphs of the horse world. They are tall, lean, with fine bones and it’s tough to put weight on them. Sort of like a supermodel!
Morgan Horses are the Endomorphs of the horse world. They’re shorter and rounder than their Thoroughbred cousins. They have heavier, denser bone than Thoroughbreds. Toss them a handful of grain and they’ll stay fat. Throw them two handfuls and they’ll become obese if their exercise isn’t increased to help them burn the extra calories.
Quarter Horses are the Mesomorphs. They are similar in height and bone to Morgans, but they have less fat and more of a muscular profiles! They have bulky, well-defined muscles. Companies that make exercise machines choose mesomorphs to illustrate “what happens when you work out on a (insert any as-seen-on-TV fitness machine here!)
It’s important to understand bodies can’t change. We are born with a certain body type and no exercise, supplements, or diets will change our inherent body type. We can take care of our body to help keep it strong and healthy and serving us well for as long as we live. Understanding our individual body type will save us money and frustration.