If you missed Part 1, read that first!
At this point, the quest for my perfect Morgan horse began in earnest. My teenage self, the one with polo shirts and hairnets and perfectly shiny boots, was baffled. But my true self was really happy, so I told the teenager to get over it.’
I knew I wanted the “old type” of Morgan, meaning the hardy, workman’s horse that was the foundation of the breed (some lines have been crossed with Saddlebreds and other breeds, to make them taller and have more action to their gaits). I became an instant student of the Morgan, and was fascinated by how integral these horses were to the history of New England, and in fact our whole country. I started learning about bloodlines and breed standards, and in my research I realized that what I really wanted was a Lippitt Morgan. Lippitts are a segment of the breed with the most bloodlines tracing back to Justin Morgan, the foundation sire. Lippitts retain the most original breed characteristics of the Morgan Horse because they have no outcrosses to other breeds in the 20th or 21st centuries, and there are only about 2,000 left in the world. After trying a few horses in Massachusetts and Vermont, I noticed a horse posted for sale on The Lippitt Club’s Facebook page. His name was Sawyer. He was cute and handsome, badass and sweet, all at the same time. In short, he was All That is Morgan (as his new auntie Casey is fond of saying), and I just had to meet him. Even though he was in Wisconsin…
Patience is a virtue, but not necessarily one of my virtues, so waiting to meet Sawyer was hard. But a couple of months after discovering his for sale ad, I was able to fly to Wisconsin to meet Sawyer in person. One of the many, many perks of being a SmartPaker is that you are surrounded by awesome, brilliant horse people, and they become true friends along the way. Apparently it takes a SmartPak village to buy a horse; in addition to SmartPaker Casey and her Morgan, Newt, helping me uncover that a Morgan was the right horse for me, I was lucky enough to stay with SmartPaker Kristen’s wonderful family in Illinois, and our own Dr. Lydia Gray made the road trip with me to meet Sawyer. In Wisconsin. In January.
Sawyer was 4 years old and un-started – exactly the clean slate that I wanted. I played with him on the ground as best I could in the snow banks, and he was friendly, funny, and fuzzy. The rest is history!
Okay, not really… There was still a flight home, a pre-purchase exam, and LOTS more waiting. It was a winter of record snowfall for both the mid-west and the northeast, so we had to reschedule his shipping arrangements about 5,674 times. But in late March, Sawyer finally arrived to his new home in Massachusetts!
If I wasn’t sure whether Sawyer was The One when he first arrived, he very quickly proved that he was. It’s been less than three months, and he’s been successfully started under saddle. We’ve had about 15 rides so far, are already cantering, and have even taken a couple of short trail rides!
This horse just makes me smile. I love everything about him, from his little Lippitt ears, to his long mane. Yes, you heard right, this former hunter/jumper chick said she loves the long mane.
So here I am, at the start of a wonderful new relationship, looking forward to all that Sawyer and I will learn along the way. And like in the very beginning, I’m just a girl with a shaggy, little chestnut gelding who cares more about my relationship with my horse than any of that other stuff. And that is cool. Even my teenage self thinks so.