The Morgan in Australia
Morgan horses were first imported into Australia in the 1800s to improve trotter bloodlines and were known to have competed and broken records while racing in Australia.
The first Morgans imported to Australia for the purpose of breeding arrived in 1974. Three horses came from America: the stallion Saddleback Sultan (Orcland Dondarling x Donene Pepper) and the mares Saddleback Sundance (Applevale Donalect x Waltz Time) and Green Meads Fashion (UVM Promise x Windcrest Lady Luck).
They were followed in 1981 by Wawayanda Watch Out (Wawayanda Wallington x Wawayanda Maequin) and his daughter Lizotte Lil Bridget (x Ortawn’s Premiere). These five horses all went to New South Wales, though Watch Out and Bridget later moved to North East Victoria, and then Watch Out moved to Queensland, before passing away.
In 1986 Sumicaro Beau Geste (Adanac Bonnie Boy x Joli Ms Jubilee) was imported from Canada to Western Australia.
In 1994, Australia’s first Lippitt Morgans were purchased – the stallion Marvelous Encore (Ryegate Major x Moro Hills Royrita) and the mare Wood Run Trillium (Royalton Asa Ash x Royalton Grace Lea). Since these initial imports numerous other mares and stallions have been (and continue to be) imported to Australia from America, Canada, New Zealand and England, and frozen semen has also been imported to increase the gene pool.
A large percentage of the Morgan population is located in Victoria, but there are pure and part bred Morgans throughout Australia. Although the total population is fairly small, it is growing rapidly. There are currently about 315 pure breds and around 500 part breds. Morgans, both pure and part bred, are now competing in a range of disciplines including combined driving, showing, dressage, endurance, eventing, games and show jumping, as well as being handy Pony Club and ARC mounts. Morgans are extremely versatile and often compete in more than one discipline with equal success.
In 2005 the interest to add colour to the Australian Morgan population resulted in two separate syndicates being formed to import frozen semen from two pure Morgan stallions – one a palomino and the other a perlino. The first foals produced by AI from these stallions were born in late 2006 and all were coloured! As well, in December 2005, a buckskin Morgan stallion was imported from America and in early 2006 a cremello colt was imported from Canada, so the future of the Morgan horse in Australia is certain to be colourful.