Best of Sooner or Later: Body Types! What’s yours?

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.

My Morgan stallion, Whippoorwill Skylark AMHR# 29991 (Whippoorwill DuTime x Whippoorwill Melody) bridged the two body types although his breeding was 100% old type. He did very well in the show ring in the 80s, but wouldn't be bringing home the ribbons today if competing with the Morgans showing today.

My Morgan stallion, Whippoorwill Skylark AMHR# 29991 (Whippoorwill DuTime x Whippoorwill Melody) bridged the two body types although his breeding was 100% old type. He did very well in the show ring in the 80s, but wouldn’t be bringing home the ribbons today if competing with the Morgans showing today.

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.

Tall, long, lean, dainty bones, hard to gain weight. What women wouldn't like to be described that way?

Tall, long, lean, dainty bones, hard to gain weight. What women wouldn’t like to be described that way?

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.

Thoroughbred horses are the Ectomorphs of the horse world.

Thoroughbred horses are the Ectomorphs of the horse world.

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!

Morgans are the Endomorphs of the horse world. Heavier bone, shorter, plump, gains weight easily

Old type Morgans are the Endomorphs of the horse world. Heavier bone, shorter, plump, gains weight easily

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. Similar in  bone density and height to Endomorphs but much more muscled. They are the body builders of the equine world.

Quarter Horses are the Mesomorphs. Similar in bone density and height to Endomorphs but much more muscled. They are the body builders of the equine world.

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!)

They are combinations of body types too. Arabian Horses are a good example of Endomorph/Mesomorphs. They have nice balance and a pleasing combination of the traits of both body types.

There are combinations of body types too. Arabian Horses are a good example of Endomorph/Mesomorphs. They have nice balance and a pleasing combination of the traits of both body types.

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.

Here is an endomorph riding an Endomorph/Ectomorph!

Here is an ectomorph riding an Endomorph/Ectomorph!

Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their weight-related goals. Her articles on weight management have been published in health, family and women's magazines. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news, FOX network morning program Good Day Maine and 207 on WCSH.