Where have all the Morgans gone?
Also known as a discussion on breeders subsidizing their products.
I see this discussion come up quite frequently on social media as well as in-person for people looking for specific horses.
One common breed I see discussed quite often is the Morgan. There aren't many Morgan breeders left in the United States and there are not many foals registered each year. Many of the Morgan breeders left are breeding foals for the Saddleseat type market or are Amish type breeders looking for a flashy road horse.
This has lead to many people that frequently post on groups lamenting on the loss of the historical old style Morgan.
My personal opinion is that many of the historical type Morgans were overfed and underworked and that a fit, sport type Morgan could be almost all "historical" bloodlines, let still look different.
But also in addition to that what I have found is that people looking for a sport or classical type Morgan rarely want to pay what it costs to put a foal on the ground. Ten years ago, I bred for my first and only foal and my costs were more than five thousand dollars at the time, not including the cost of the mare and so forth. Some of my costs could be reduced if I had done more of my own veterinary type work, skipped ultrasounds, and so forth, but let's admit that to breed horses with a level of personalized care without just throwing a mare and a stallion together in a pasture, there are certain fixed costs.
I have yet to find someone that wants to pay the costs for someone to produce that foal, let alone a little bit extra to keep a breeder going in years of unexpected expenses.
Thus, why would a historical type Morgan breeder keep producing foals at a loss?
I have also encountered a number of breeders that can produce foals relatively inexpensively (perhaps using aforementioned pasture breeding), but there is still lack of capital to put these foals undersaddle, show them, or to market them to build a market. These horses still don't reach their target market who want that well broke, historical type Morgan.
I don't blame breeders that create Morgans for the saddleseat or show market that actually sell. It makes financial sense. They can continue to reinvest in their animals and take care of the stock they have.
I personally wish more people would understand the costs that go into producing a young horse and that to find a well broke XYZ breed at $1,000 meant that someone(s) have taken a substantial loss.
Please feel free to replace Morgan with any particular breed of your choice. This is just a common one I've seen recently.
What are you thoughts on this? Should there always be the expectation for breeders to do this for the love of the breed and take a loss? Should historical breed type preservation be a bigger priority and how should it be accomplished?