Amazing Morgan Stories
Amazing Morgan Horse Stories
We have experienced a number of quite amazing incidents with our Morgans at differing times, and these experiences have given us an even greater appreciation of these wonderful animals.
They have an intelligence that astounds us.
Read on ...
Mt Tawonga Natasha (aka Elle or Elegance) gave us a laugh ....
Late one afternoon, we were at the Stable yards, looking out over the 100 acre paddock and admiring our herd of mares and foals, and watching a storm roll in. As the sky darkened with the heavy clouds, thunder rolled, the wind picked up and streaks of lightning flashed across the horizon. It was a glorious sight. The herd, spread over quite a distance, continued to graze as light rain began to fall.
Suddenly, we saw Mt Tawonga Natasha (Elle) raise her herd and look around. She took off at a fast canter, heading directly towards Eaglveview Skybeau (Calypso). I expressed to Greg that Elle was heading over to her best buddy, Calypso, to be with her in the storm. I was so impressed with the closeness of the bond between them.
But No - Elle had no thought for Calypso at all. She whizzed straight past her to the double shelter that we have in the paddock. Elle had decided that she was going to see out the storm in comfort!
We went from saying .... Awwww, how sweet ... to fits of laughter at Elle standing in the shelter, content with life.
Mt Tawonga Natasha - aka Elle
Wilga Park Laelia - such a wise, caring, beautiful natured filly ...
Wilga Park Laelia is now 12 months old and has a new little sister in the paddock, Wilga Park Latte.
On this day, RJ (Mum to Laelia and Latte) left her sleeping filly (Latte) in the 100 acre paddock to come into the small yard for her morning feed. I kept a close eye on the little creamy coloured lump on the ground to ensure Latte, if she woke, did not become upset when she couldn't find her Mum close by.
I need not have worried. I watched as Latte came to her feet, looked around and called to her Mum. RJ totally ignored the little whinnys from Latte and continued to munch her pellets. There was no responding call to let Latte know where she was! Laelia, however, who was in the 100 acres with Latte, left her hay and began walking towards her.
Latte went to the first big, bay mare she could see as if to ask, 'Have you seen my Mum?' Elle (Mt Tawonga Natasha) told her in no uncertain terms to stop being an annoying baby and to get out of her space. Poor Latte had to move quickly from the threatening ears and then the raised hind leg. I was at the gate ready to herd Latte into the smaller yard where her Mum was, but Laelia stepped in and took charge. She went to Latte and put her nose on her wither, as if she was telling her everything was OK and that she would look after her. Latte immediately settled and Laelia continued to reassure her with intermittent light touches with her nose. I opened the gate wide so that Laelia and Latte could saunter through together. As I watched, Laelia stayed with Latte until she finally worked out where her Mum was and then, and only then, did she wander off to find some hay for herself.
I was awed, and felt privileged to have witnessed the wonderful, caring, wise actions of this lovely, yearling filly.
Wilga Park Laelia - yearling filly.
I recently witnessed the beautiful, caring nature of our Morgan mare, Eagleview Skybeau (aka Calypso). It melted my heart. The ability to show concern, empathy, patience and complete understanding of one of her herd mares was astonishing.
To begin at the beginning - One night during September, Calypso lost her filly foal at almost 7 months pregnancy. It was way too early in the pregnancy and Calypso seemed not to be too concerned during the next day, and got on with her life in general. The previous year she had lost her buckskin filly at full term through a breach birth and was distraught.
On the night of 22nd October, Paprika delivered her colt foal at full term, but the tragedy was that the pager connected to the foaling alarm did not alert us in the house, so we were not there to help. The beautiful, buckskin boy was compromised through lack of oxygen during birth and did not survive.
We allowed Paprika to spend the next day with her dead baby and when she seemed to want to leave him behind and join the waiting mares in the adjoining paddock, we let her through the gate. Paprika did not seem to want to wander too far away, but was happy to hang with the mares who had been waiting for her.
Over the next hour, all the herd, except Calypso, wandered off to the far reaches of the 100 acre paddock to graze. Paprika wanted to graze close to where she had left her baby. Calypso kept a close eye on Paprika and groomed her incessantly to comfort her. (Calypso is head mare and does not give out her grooming skills to just anyone ... they are ususally saved for her best buddy, Mt Tawonga Natasha, who is second in charge of the herd).
Paprika would begin to move away, and Calypso would move quietly and slowly behind her, then Paprika would have a change of heart and wander back to the fenceline ... Calypso would return with her.
I watched over several hours as Calypso cared for Paprika and shared her grief. Finally, Paprika decided she could leave her baby behind and when she did, Calypso stayed with her, where-ever she meandered in the paddock.
Calypso watched over Paprika and groomed her many times over the next few days. I have never before witnessed such emotions, expressed so clearly between two mares who had lost their babies. I was particularly moved by the beautiful, giving nature of my first Morgan love, Calypso.
Eagleview Skybeau - aka Calypso with her foal Santa Cruz
Shelby Williams is proud owner of two Wilga Park Babies and she has a tale to tell about Wilga Park Linden in particular
And now for a story about Wilga Park Linden ... A couple of days ago there was a lot of activity in the kid's paddock what with the toilet and shower being installed in the stable shed and, finally, electricity (yay). Of course the kids wanted to help, Wilga Park Golden Maya in particular. As the 'dingo' was digging a trench for the pipes she would backfill, albeit a little prematurely.
Where the plumbers were connecting pipes, Maya would grab a huge plastic bag full of elbows and connectors and shake them all out into the trench while Linden, standing on the excavated mound of dirt, regally supervised. I thought they were doing a wonderful job helping but it was a sentiment not shared by others so I gave them a biscuit of hay each to turn their minds to other things. So, I'm sitting cross legged between the two horses watching them eat, when a large tip truck comes into the paddock laden with gravel. I gestured for the driver to go around us (the horses didn't look up from their food ‘nom, nom’) but, being inattentive to my signs, the driver started coming toward us.
Linden stopped eating and walked over to alert me to the truck coming our way by nuzzling my head. I held my ground and my boy stayed with me with his chin on my head until the truck turned away. Then, and only then, did Linden go back to his hay.
Isn't he wonderful? Of course, through all of this, Maya didn't even bother to look up ‘nom, nom’! I have to say that, where everyone thinks Linden is gorgeous, they think Maya is 'Nicer'. It's selfish of me I know, but I'm only too happy to let them think that because Linden is My Boy. I've been sitting here trying to describe what I mean but can't quite describe the relationship we have … suffice to say it's incredible and such a privilege.
Shelby Williams – proud owner of Wilga Park Golden Maya and Wilga Park Linden.
Jane Warren also had a "Morgan" moment with her filly, Wilga Park Malaynee recently. Her story follows.
Malaynee to the Rescue
Wilga Park Malaynee (Karenza Malanion X Eagleview Skybeau)
This morning, I noticed far up on the Eastern boundary, on the neighbour's side of the fence, a cow running down the hill, bellowing and very distraught. She was hanging around the boundary fence and just out of my range of sight. I asked Kim if he could see what was happening. He said one of the horses were up there, and it looked like Malaynee and maybe I should go and check it out as she might be caught up in the fence.
I tramped way up the other end (50 acres is a long way when you have to walk it), and sure enough Malaynee came down to meet me half way... then turned around and walked with me, by my side, back to where she had come from.
As we approached the spot, there was the biggest Droughtmaster cow (nearly as tall as the Warmbloods and way rounder) tossing her head at me; not very friendly at all!! In the corner, on our side of the fence, was her calf!!!! The cow looked as though she wanted to rip me to pieces as soon as I walked close to her baby and I don't think the fence would have held her back, if she chose to charge.
Wilga Park Malaynee
Malaynee stood beside the fence very calmly watching the cow... and calf... quite concerned about what was going on. I reached my hand out, in the submissive position, so that the cow could smell the back of my hand. She came over to me, sniffed, and stepped back from the fence. She then let me pick up her calf and lift the wire so that it could get back to its mother. The calf didn't really care what was happening, it had been lying down, having a rest.
The cow never snorted or tossed her head again. She stood and waited for the calf to come over, then with one look back, walked away. Malaynee watched the whole process without moving, and then nickered to the cow and calf as they moved away. They paused, looked back again and then wandered off.
Malaynee then turned around and walked back with me to the other end of the paddock to where the car was parked. She had found the calf and stayed with it, until someone came to the rescue!! Amazing!! I could see where she had been standing by the calf as the grass was all beaten down. She was so calm and gentle with the cow and calf - I was blown away!
None of the other horses were up there. They were all down the other end of the paddock, completely disinterested.
That's my story ... isn't she amazing!! .... Jane
Greg and Nepean go trail riding
Mt Tawonga Nepean (Marvelous Encore X Mt Tawonga Margaret)
Greg and Nepean were on a Cumburrie Trail Ride ... a 5 day camp at a magnificent property down near Tenterfield, with beautiful valleys set amongst the most magnificent mountains and a river running through it all.
On the day of arrival, Greg put Nepean in a paddock that ran beside another paddock with 4 Arabs that belonged to the Property owner. He watched for about 40 minutes to ensure that Nepean and the horses next door didn't have any altercations and apart from a bit of snorting over the fence they all went about their business of eating grass, so he left them to it. He'd set up camp, the sun had set, and he was deep in conversation with Trev, a long time friend, and Organiser of the ride, when he 'felt' Nepean call him.
Greg was intent on Trev's conversation, but was distracted again by the feeling that Nepean needed him .... he was not aware that he'd heard anything at this stage; he just knew Nepean had called for help ... so he took his mind away from Trev's conversation and listened ... sure enough ... he heard a call from Nepean that he felt was like an animal caught in a trap. He turned from Trev in mid-conversation and ran toward Nepean in the darkness; Nepean was a fair distance away in his paddock.
As he ran toward him in the dark, he could see Nepean's silouhette against the sky line and he looked as if he was skewered on a post over a fence. With heart pounding in his chest, he raced closer to discover that Nepean had both hind feet caught in the chain wire, held above the ground, crossed one behind the other... standing there, motionless, with all his weight on his front feet, calling for help.
Greg said Nepean's call was not a regular whinny, and not something he wants to hear again in a hurry.... it was a very 'throaty' whinny that was unquestionably a call to rescue him from a trap.
Greg always wears his Leatherman which has wirecutters on it. He had grabbed a halter as he ran, so he put it on Nepean, talking to him the whole time .... "It's Ok, Boy! Just stay still and I can fix it! One step at a time! Trust me! It will be Ok! Promise me .... be still!!"
In the dark, he cut the first wire that seemed to hold Nepean's hind legs crossed. When Nepean felt the release, he kicked out to get himself free, but it was not the main wire that held him. Greg then had to decide what to cut next ... he could see a wire that seemed to be more taut then others, so he took the chance and cut it. Nepean felt the release again, and he made two huge kicks and bounds, luckily hitting the strainer post with his kick-out and sending himself forward, free of the wire, pulling a shoe cleanly as he went ... the nails were straight when Greg picked up the shoe!!
On close inspection, under torch light, Nepean, being the magnificent Morgan that he is, had not struggled in the wire, and though he had wire 'burns' where the hair had worn off with the tightness of the wire, he did not have one cut on him. He did not swell up at all .... so, obviously, once he discovered he was trapped, he stood and called Greg to rescue him. Greg is blown away with his experience of how that horse got the message to him.
On the same weekend ...
Greg also experienced a 'Black Beauty' moment with Nepean ... you know when Black Beauty refused to cross the flooded bridge ... when he was riding along an escarpment that was close to a very sheer drop. Nepean propped - throwing Greg forward in the saddle ... Greg dug his heels in and said something like, '*&^))*%!!!! I didn't tell you to stop ... !!' Nepean refused to move!! One more kick and some choice words, but Nepean did not budge. So Greg decided he'd best take a look at what was in front of him. He had been riding beside a sheer drop, even though it was fenced, and just where Nepean had propped, the fence line fell away quite steeply. When Greg took a look at what was in front of him, Nepean had stopped before stepping into an area of rabbit warrens and holes that, if he'd stumbled in them, would have sent Greg over the sheer cliff!
Greg has renewed his admiration and respect for Nepean ... he said he had forgotten what a great horse he was - and really ... isn't he!!!! From Trail Ride horse, to teaching the beginners, to going out and winning competitions with just about anyone on his back ... he is a horse that no amount of money could replace!!
Greg & Nepean on the Trail
Then there is the story of 'Calypso'
Eagleview Skybeau (Marvelous Encore X Mt Tawonga Bea)
Eagleview Skybeau, or Calypso as we know her, was my very first Morgan. She came into my life as an almost three year old, unstarted filly. An excellent horseman, Barry Chambers, started her for me, and within 8 weeks of purchasing her, I was riding her in just a halter over the magnificent mountains on his property in Victoria.
I was not a very accomplished rider at the time, and would have certainly been classified as a 'nervous rider', but Calypso kept me safe and filled me with confidence.
Calypso and I continued our riding adventures at home. I would take her out at least 3 mornings a week, and we would normally follow the same route each day. By the third morning, Calypso knew she had to sidle up to the gate so that I could open it, then position us so that I could close it again with ease.
I would follow a sequence of exercises to ensure Calypso was supple and maintained the movements Barry had taught her so well. What really amazed me was how Calypso remembered from the first day that we were to circle to the right around a particular bush, side-pass to the left over a log just a littler further on, then back up between some bushes after we'd crossed the creek.
Was it that she was so attuned to me that, as I thought of the exercise, she prepared to do it? Or was it that she is just so intelligent that she remembered the movements from the previous day?
Whatever it is, she has not lost that talent. This magnificent mare, just four weeks off foaling, followed me from the paddock, blowing gentle, warm breath on my elbow, to let me know she wanted to be with me. We walked all the way home, Calypso happy to wait for me to open the gates for her so we could walk together into the arena.
I put a halter on Calypso and, with the aid of my mounting block, slipped onto her back. This amazing horse had not had anyone on her back for a little over 4 years ... and you would think that simply because she is just 4 weeks off foaling she may object just a little. But no ... she walked out freely, as if she remembered the good times as well.
I had the lead rope held lightly in one hand but didn't need it at any stage to guide her or to stop her. Calypso remembered every movement we'd done together. She turned small circles and large circles, both ways ... she halted and backed up with just the gentle indication from my legs and body ... she turned on her haunches and turned on her forehand ... she sidepassed both ways.
The bond we had formed all those seven years ago was still as strong as ever! It was like coming home after being away for many years.
The experience was an exhilarating reminder of why I love these Morgans as I do. This magnificent mare set out to give me that wonderful trip down memory lane ... and I guess she wanted to remind me that even though she is now providing us with little Morgans so that others can have this fantastic experience, she is still my first love ... the one who removed the tag, 'nervous rider'.
Calypso - before she became a Broodmare!
And Mt Tawonga Natasha (aka Elegance or Elle)
Mt Tawonga Natasha (Marvelous Encore X Mt Tawonga Margaret)
Elle has also astounded me with her communication skills.
When Elle was heavily pregnant with her first foal, Wilga Park Chambourcin, I was in her paddock watering the young trees, with quite a strong pressure of water. As Elle was not due until late January, the weather was extremely hot and she obviously decided she needed to cool down.
Now, Elle is a mare that has not always appreciated the cold water when she was given a hose down after excercise or at competition, so I was completely surprised by what happened on this day.
As I was watering the plants, the pressure of the water suddenly dropped to about half. I looked around and noticed that Elle had her front feet planted firmly on the hose. Nothing I did to make her move had any effect, so I decided to squirt her with the water to make her move, knowing her dislike of cold water. As the water hit her body, Elle lowered her head with a look of huge satisfaction. A totally different reaction to the one I expected. So I moved closer and hosed Elle all over.
Not once did the pressure vary whilst I hosed her body ... however, as I aimed the water along Elle's neck towards her head, the water pressure dropped dramatically. I moved the water back to Elle's body and the pressure increased once more. I was a little intrigued by this, so I moved the hose towards Elle's head once more. Once again the pressure decreased ... I did this three times to ensure it wasn't just coincidence. Sure enough, Elle was controlling the flow of water with the pressure of her front feet.
Elle was telling me she needed to cool down, but ... 'please, don't spray my head!'
How intelligent are these horses!!
Mt Tawonga Natasha (Elle) in competition
One last story about Nepean ...
I marvel, every morning, at the fact that I can see beautiful pure Morgans from my kitchen window. I was standing there,one morning, watching Nepean as he manouvered his body to reach the tap on the other side of the post to where his trough is situated. He was mouthing the tap ... and as I watched, I remembered stories people had told me of how curious and investigative these Morgans were. I coninued to watch as Nepean shifted position a number of times to gain better access to the Tap.
It suddenly dawned on me that Nepean was possibly trying to turn the tap on and that his trough was bone dry!
I ran out to the paddock and, sure enough, the trough was dry and as well as trying to turn the tap on, Nepean had also dug a hole at the base of the post that the tap was attached to, to gain the moisture in the ground.
I have never met a horse as intelligent as this breed.
Mt Tawonga Nepean - our School Master and one amazing Morgan!
There are many other stories to be told of Morgans and their intuitive intelligence ... these are just a few that we have experienced first hand. Our Morgans command our respect and admiration. If others could experience this, they would be as awed by these amazing animals as we arel