MISSOURI GAITED MORGANS —- JOURNEY OF PRIDE
We once visited one of the farms previously owned by Gary’s Grandfather, William Seibert. This 160 acre farm was outside of Poplar Bluff, Missouri. The small one story log home with two bedrooms, a kitchen/dining area and living room. Gary’s Father was born in this log home. There were the remains of an old log barn. Grandfather Seibert had owned this farm prior to the turn of the 20th century. He moved the family to New Harmony, Indiana in 1909 and died three years later. The family Aunts were instrumental in telling the family story of their lives in Missouri and the migration to Indiana. In addition, they told of many happenings on the two farms.
Over the years, many photos have been lost showing Gary’s Dad holding him on horseback and on the International Harvester tractor built the same year Gary was born. But luckily we still have a photo of Gary’s pony and the family picture of these white/grey mares. There were many other horses on the farm as far back as Gary can remember which were purebred ASB or TWH, foals born with cross of Gary’s pony born on same day and year as Gary with the ASB and TWH mares and a couple old mules left over from the grain farming with teams by his Dad.
This New Harmony farm later became a part of the Harmony State Park. This farm was just over 100 acres with a two story log home, a very large log barn with corn cribs and graineries. These were torn down for the Park development, but there is still the walking trail as you go pass the old home site. Our current barn is a far cry from the barns of William Seibert. Hopefully Jellico’s current barn will have many fond memories for our family, friends, and visitors as those of Grandfather Seibert.
We became interested in Gaited Morgans and purchased our first Morgan in 1986. This mare from time to time would go into this smooth gait with no sway or bounce. We quizzed many breeders asking if there were Singlefooting Morgans. The answer was always: NO – There are no Morgan Singlefooting Horses.
The Missouri Gaited Morgans connection and offspring are forming part of the foundation lines for today’s Jellico Farms Gaited Morgans. Our first Missouri Morgans were Chandel Laurel, Isabo followed by Mary Mels Music.
A trip was made to Wyoming in 2000 and our first Gaited Morgan stallion and mare were purchased. These Gaited Morgans did naturally what our mare did only under the perfect conditions. The following years meant more purchases and our first foals were lost to the Kenticky Mare Syndrome; with many guesses as to the reasons thousands of foals of all breeds in Kentucky were lost over a couple years. During this period we decided to register our prefix Jellico. The reasoning was based on the fact of over 25 years of searching showed us there were many Morgan owners who would not like to see the word Gaited Morgans. The name was selected based on the Jellico Mountain in Tennessee—it is a terrible climb to get to the top–what we assumed would happen in our breeding program would be the same climb to get the Gaited Morgan recognized as legitimate and true Morgans.
Gary was awarded AMHA Promter Award for Gaited Morgans in 2002. Over the years from 2004 through current many great things have happened. The first foals were born. Friends of Sound Horses, FOSH, President and Head of the Independent Judges Association, IJA, asked Gary to write the judging rules to be used for Gaited Morgan classes at FOSH Shows. This was finished in 2005 and Jellico Farms participated in the 2006 World Championships of FOSH in Lexington, VA. Also Jellico Farms in 2006 was asked to demonstrate Gaited Morgans under saddle and in hand at the AMHA Convention held in Lexintion, KY. During 2006 and 2007 Gary wrote articles published in the Morgan Horse Magazine and an internet magazine talking to breeding and Gaited Morgans. Jellico Farms got a Gaited Morgan registered with the United Mountain Horse Association and attended 8 shows in 2008. The young stallion with only 45 days of training at the beginning of the season competed in 8 shows against 5 and over stallions and always placed with a ribbon in the top 5 and finished 5th at the World Championship against 18 other horses. Jellico was asked starting in 2011 to participate in a study by Capilets from Sweden and completed in US by Texas A&M to submit DNA samples to develop a DNA test to determine the Gait Gene A in gaited horses. This test became available to the public in 2014. There was always the effort by Gary to get AMHA to official recognize the Gaited Morgan. Finally after 11 years AMHA agreed to hear a proposal in Nov 2014 by Gary to include the SynchroGaited Gene A test and to register the results in the horse’s record. The AMHA BOD then gave final approval in 2015 the AMHA authorized the DNA test which would ID a Morgan as AA–Homozygous for gait or CA—Heterzygous for gait or CC–walkl/trot/canter.