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The History of the Morab


Morab history seems to have started in the west. Lynn Beckford was the original researcher and she searched in the libraries and worked her way through many Arabian and Morgan books to put the first documentation together, and we are greatly in her debt! She said, "There was a concern with the lack of documentation of the beginnings of the Morab breed as there was very limited material prior to 1973 and I worked for five years on the project." Members of the Morab Community Network have added many more years of research to Lynn’s to produce this version.


In the book History of the Arabian Horse Registry, written in the early 1900's, Lynn tells us there was a provision for the get of the Arabian/Morgan crosses in the early Arabian Horse Club Registry. This reference was discontinued about the time of World War I and prior to the formation of the International Arabian Horse Association in the 1940's. Unfortunately with that change in procedures (registering and recording only purebreds) and the starting of IAHA (Half Arabian Registry), those earlier records were no where to be found.


With the 1857 book The Morgan Horse by D. C. Lindsley, the early Morgan historian, came a lot more background. He discussed the needs of this country relative to horseflesh and according to Lindsley, in New England a person was rarely seen on horseback, preferring rather to drive. This was becoming the trend in the South as well, and with it the age of the light buggy was dawning. The buggy was fast becoming the favorite means of conveyance because of the many conveniences they offered. Protection from the elements, the facility for carrying light packages and personal baggage were some of the conveniences. These points combined with a light carriage upon good roads, allowed a single horse to perform the work of two horses under saddle, making this mode of transportation very popular.

A major part of Lindsley’s essay was concerned with perpetuating and improving the Morgan breed, and stated where mares of Morgan blood could not be obtained, mares possessing a strain of racing or Arabian blood could be considered. Lindsley specifically recommended 1/8 to 1/4 Arabian blood as suitable and you find many of the Morgan/Arab cross (Morabs) registered in the American Morgan Horse Association registry prior to their 1/1/48 abolishment of their Rule 2 that allowed out crosses.

From the Lindsley essay came information about the first volume of the Morgan Horse Registry written by Colonel Joseph Battell. Battell continued on the work started by Lindsley, but went one step further by taking on the task of documenting the Morgan breed and publishing the first Morgan Stud Book which also contained a fairly complete history of the Morgan breed.


Battell’s Volume I provided an entire chapter devoted to the stallion named Golddust MHA70; a horse of great merit, whose bloodlines reveal he was a Morab, registered as #70 in the Morgan registry. Golddust was foaled in 1855 (bred by Andrew Hoke near Louisville, Kentucky), and sold when a weanling for $1,000 to L.L. Dorsey, Eden Stock Farm. His sire was Vermont Morgan MHA69, his dam the unregistered Hoke mare. The Hoke mare was said to be by Zilcaadi, a chestnut Arabian stallion, presented by the Sultan to the United States Consul, Mr. Rhind, and was then imported by him.

Golddust became an important sire of the time and was retained by Mr. Dorsey for his career. He is described as being pure gold in color, off hind ankle white, sixteen hands high and weighing 1,275 pounds. It was reported he was never defeated in the show ring at the trot or at the flat-footed walk and that at the flat walk he could cover six miles in an hour. No stallion of his day produced larger, more handsome, showy horses, or more winners in the show rings and trotting races of the era. His get were exhibited at all the prominent expositions and fairs with Goldsheen MHA4971 (by his son Goldzil) winning his classes at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904.

Golddust outperformed anything bred before in Kentucky. Racing in 1861, Golddust defeated Iron Duke in a match race, best three out of five heats, for a purse of $10,000. Besides being an animal of great beauty and refinement, he was noted for endowing his offspring with extreme speed. Although the Civil War and his own untimely death curtailed his stud career, he sired 302 foals and left 44 trotters of record. In getting speed, he out ranks even the great Hambletonian. In addition to their speed and racing quality, his get also illustrated the style and beauty of their Morgan and Arabian lineage.

A search through the IMR™ records has found over 100 of today's Morabs tracing their ancestor’s back to Golddust. This connection goes through a series of stallion and mare tail mates, but passes in great numbers primarily through the 103 progeny of Flyhawk MHA7526.


With the advent of the carriage horse, the country became very involved with speed and horses were not sold by pedigree but rather by their racing time. It seems these horses were not only raced on the tracks but in friendly matches on the country roads. This was a fascinating time however, in the search for sheer racing speed, the Morgan blood, and unfortunately, that of the Morab somewhat disappeared into the new breed of Standardbred. Couple this with the advent of the horse less carriage and in a very short period of time the entire horse industry in this country changed dramatically.


Little more was found until the 1920's, following World War I. At that time the famed publisher William Randolph Hearst had a superior Arabian breeding program and had a short-lived, but important Morgan breeding program which included a program of breeding Morabs. Hearst is credited with having coined the word "Morab" and some of his Morabs were registered as Morgans with the "Sunical" prefix (his Morgans had the "Piedmont" prefix), under the now extinct outcross Rule 2 of the American Morgan Horse Association.

Hearst bred Morabs by crossing his mostly Crabbett based Arabian stallions Ghazi AHR560, Gulastra AHR521, Joon AHR439, Ksar AHR707, Rahas AHR651 and Sabab AHR710 to his Morgan mares. Mrs. William Randolph Hearst II said in her book Horses of San Simeon that Hearst, "... found the produce were excellent for work on his California Ranch." "He registered 110 horses in the AMHA, 18 of which were Morabs", she said. Quoted in an early American Morab Horse Assn. Brochure, "According to A. J. Cooke of the Hearst Corp, Sunical Div. … Hearst bred Morabs in the 1930’s and 1940’s for ranch work … and were desirable for the large, rough mountainous terrain of the Hearst Ranches."

Hearst purchased the Morgan stallion Mountcrest Sellman MHA7289, bred by another famous cattle ranch, from the Sellman Ranch in Texas, to expand his Morgan program. He bred him to the mare Pontez MHAF0195 (a Morab by the Arab Antez AHR448 out of the Morgan Pondette MHA04523), producing the Morab stallion Antman MHAX8318. Antman went on to sire 35 foals that were registered with the AMHA.

Do date we have traced 25 of our IMR™ registered Morabs back to this breeding program through a combination of stallion and mare tail mates. These Morabs are not only out west as we might suspect, but the Midwest and Canada too. Rahas and Antman come up more often than the other stallions.

These IMR™ Morabs trace back to both the
Morgan Golddust and the Hearst Arabians:

Aladdinn's Enchanted Dream - IMR0CA5 - 1996 bay Stallion
BLT's Coaldust - IMR1542 - 1996 black Stallion
Gentle Ben +BA - IMR013B - 1991 bay Stallion
LM Aurora Sparkler - IMR0B93 - 1995 bay Mare
LM Sparkling Radiance - IMR0B96 - 1996 chestnut Mare
Reinbeaus Illusion - IMR0F9D - 1996 gray Stallion
Whispering Bold Kamar - IMR1104 - 1996 chestnut Gelding
Windmere Ambrosia - IMR02BD - 1982 palomino Mare
Windmere Erica - IMR0136 - 1984 gray Mare


Another Morab breeding program of interest was developed by the Swenson Brothers near Stamford, Texas on their world famous SMS Ranch. The purchase of Morgan stud colts Red Bird MHA6775 and Gotch MHA5979 (sons of The Admiral MHA4871), along with a band of seven Morgan brood mares just prior to 1920, marked the beginning of the SMS expansion into Morgans. A few years later three Government Remount Arabian stallions were added to the stock and fine Morab cutting horses evolved. One example was a bay gelding called Rey Boy (AQHA15810), foaled at SMS in 1943 and owned by Wild Bill Elliott of Hollywood fame. Rey’s sire was the Quarter Horse Billy by King (P-234) but is dam was a Morab sired by Niwad (Arabian) out of the daughter of an SMS Morgan Stallion (AQHA registry).


A very significant breeding program centers on Martha Doyle Fuller of Clovis, California. In 1955, in an attempt to breed a horse that could successfully compete on the open show circuit, Mrs. Fuller developed a Morab breeding program. She had experimented with several horse breeds, however, the Morab was the only one she felt could consistently fill the bill. It was from her breeding program that the first Morab registry was formed. Her daughters (Mrs. Irene Miller) husband James founded the American Morab Horse Association Inc. on July 19, 1973. This first Morab registry was also called ‘Morab Horse Registry of America’, and 'Clovis' for the town she lived in. It issued Gold Seal Certificates to Arabian and Morgan crossed Morabs (Premium Division) and Blue Seal Certificates to those that were approved on conformation with some missing pedigree documentation (Permanent Division).  In 1978 they established the 25/75 limit for Morgan/Arabian blood mix.

It was because of Mrs. Miller's efforts that we have a tie from the past to some of today’s Morab breeding programs. The years since have brought a re-emergence and a new appreciation of the Morab breed for its own fine qualities. The Morab breed owes its current success to Mrs. Miller's dedication and belief in the breed. To many, she is known as Mrs. Morab. Lynn Beckford had corresponded and spoken with her over a period of time and she said of her, "I will say her nickname was a well deserved one. It was under her direction that two regional Morab Clubs were formed and her registry personally supported the breed at numerous horse fairs." With Mrs. Millers passing in 1980, the first registry began to rapidly fade away!


In the early 1980's, as the Morab Horse Registry Of America dwindled, the North American Morab Horse Association (NAMHA) was founded.  Morab Community Network Life Member & Director, Carol Hardy (then Stankiewicz) reports ... "It was in the late summer of 1984 when a group of Wisconsin Morab enthusiasts met at the home of Gordon & Betty Weyrauch to form NAMHA. Present at that meeting were Pat Fochs, Lynn Beckford, Phyllis Griffith, Carol Stankiewicz (now Hardy), and Jean Nutter (now Schultz), and of course Gordon and Betty. The first NAMHA registrations were issued early in 1985."

While it was not able to obtain Mrs. Millers records, Carol goes on to say, "The primary goal of NAMHA was to provide an organization to register Morabs so the breed could continue to grow. The Registry was to be based in Hilbert, WI at the home of Pat Fochs. It was agreed to continue the policies of the Clovis registry regarding registration requirements, and also to accept any Morab already registered with Clovis into the NAMHA registry." It continued to register on conformation/type or Morgan/Arabian bloodlines and thought that distant Thoroughbred crosses were good.   Carol was a director on the NAMHA Board of Directors.

In 1987 the first Morab breeders group was incorporated and the International Morab Breeders' Association Inc. (IMBA) offered breeder members marketing ventures, co-op advertising, breed continuity, education, referrals, newsletters and regional and national Futurity program potential. As the breed began a bright resurgence in the mid to late 1980's, NAMHA quickly grew apart from its breeders and founders. With NAMHA registration and correspondence taking mostly 6 months to be responded to and calls going unanswered, in 1992 IMBA created the International Morab Registry (IMR)™ to fill the critically growing void. The IMR™ is based only on Morgan and Arabian pedigree but it does accept any Morab that was registered with a prior Morab registry (regardless of its pedigree) in an effort to protect breed history and maintain breed continuity. These Morabs have been clearly identified with a "#" sign in their registration number and a foot note on the face of the certificate. The US Trademark Office issued a certificate for "IMR; International Morab Registry; and The Morab Registry" to the IMBA in late 1998.

At the start of 1998, NAMHA effectively closed its doors and the directors started the Purebred Morab Horse Association (PMHA). This eliminated all the registered horses with any unknown Morgan and/or Arabian in their pedigree from the MMHA studbook. At the start of 1999 a 3rd registry was started in Illinois, called the Morab Horse Register, their reasons and motivation are not apparent.

Over the first decade the IMBA has grown from the original six Incorporates to an organization of more than 200 breeders and 450 associates on three continents. Besides using major national and regional publications for articles and marketing ventures, they were the first to introduced the Morab to the Internet in 1996 with a professionally designed, award winning, informational web site (domain). The site is reached at and opens with a slide show of working Morabs and features Free Classifieds, Free Show Listings, Picture Sales Catalog, a Farm Tour and many other features of interest to horse people and others that are out surfing the web! Email contact for IMBA; and for the IMR™; . Now the Morab Community Network combines the efforts of existing Morab companies to present the Morab to the general public.


The distribution of both the Arabian and the Morgan registries CD-ROM's in 1997 presented IMBA/IMR with a great deal of reference material of great historical value, in a computer searchable media. It is just a matter of time before the still fuzzy, unfocused historical picture of the Morab is brought into a still brighter and clearer framework.

Only Pat Fochs remained with NAMHA from the original incorporates.   Lynn Beckford’s dreams were never realized through NAMHA and she left Morabs completely after donating all her historical material and her rights to the "History Of The Morab Breed" essay to the Morab Community Network (IMBA.) She closed her original essay with, "Yet I am even more excited about the history yet to be written by the Morabs of today. I look forward to a well deserved bright future and recognition for the Morab breed; a breed that through the span of the last century and a half has done a great deal to either improve or help other breeds grow. " We could not’t agree with her more and the years have proved her points. Thanks Lynn!

The book "Morab Moments" (Morab Publishing International) has a great deal of historical detail including charts, over 60 pictures, breeder and owner stories, forms, pedigrees and much, much more about the development, breeding and showing of the Morab. Book information is available at: MORAB BOOK Morab Community Network produces the monthly email newsletter BITS & PIECES for members and others interested in the Morab. Subscription is available on the first page of the web site at:

The information and photographs for this section are kindly provided by the Morab Community Network. To learn more about this fascinating breed please visit their website

Back to The Morab Horse

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Updated: October 2005.