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The Horse America Made Helping Empow(her): Karly Morgan

Published Date: Mar 29, 2021

Pictured: CH Yes It’s True

Karly Morgan is a lifelong lover and enthusiast of the American Saddlebred. She grew up riding and showing Saddlebreds at Mercer Springs Farm, most notably many will remember her in the ring with Three-Gaited World’s Grand Champion CH Yes It’s True and multi-division World’s Champion CH Kentucky Proud. While our community may know the showring success Karly has enjoyed with the horses she loved, her adolescent years with the American Saddlebred were also preparing her for success outside of the ring. “My experiences with Saddlebreds have completely shaped my life, as a child, teen, and now as a young adult, said Karly, “To oversimplify, growing up with Saddlebreds taught me work ethic, determination, how to set goals, how to achieve them, and how to build both personal and business connections across the country.” From attending law school to managing her own business Karly can see how the lessons from the barn build you into a woman better equipped for the “real world”.  

Success in Saddlebreds does not come easy. No matter the level of competition you reach or accolades you achieve, every day you are growing in your Saddlebred Story you are dedicating yourself to the process. “I don’t think there’s any other activity that compares. It’s less of an activity and more of a lifestyle. Riders can take on responsibility and tackle challenges through riding Saddlebreds on a level that is simply not possible with any other sport or hobby. Learning to ride a Saddlebred involves a series of steps up, from walking with your instructor to having full control with one rein, all the way up through riding a big-time show horse in a full bridle,” reflects Karly, “There are a million small victories, and several big victories, on the journey to becoming a top Saddlebred rider. This process encourages personal empowerment in young riders because they are continuously setting goals, working for them, achieving them, and setting new goals. It empowers young riders by teaching them that success isn’t easy, but it’s achievable with hard work.”

 

Pictured: CH Yes It’s True by Howard Schatzberg

As a woman, forging her way in the world, Karly contributes many of her “winning characteristics” to the personal development she had through the American Saddlebred. When asked, ‘How do you do it, what drives you?’ Karly responds, “One of the most important aspects at this point in my life, at 26 years old, is that in order to continue riding Saddlebreds, you have to maintain personal success, as well. You essentially have two options: pursue a career in the Saddlebred industry, which is very fulfilling in its own right, or pursue a career path on which you can be successful enough to pursue Saddlebreds outside of work. I chose the second path, and every day I’m driven to study harder, work harder, innovate, and be the best lawyer and entrepreneur I can be, because my success in the workplace will ultimately influence my ability to pursue equestrian sport with Saddlebreds on the level that I want to achieve. I see this as an extremely positive thing; a deep, personal level of motivation that drives me to be the best version of myself, in and out of the ring.”

Pictured: CH Kentucky Proud by Doug Shiflet

The million small victories in the saddle did not just help Karly develop as a woman, student, and professional, but as an equestrian. The American Saddlebred and saddle seat discipline gave her confidence in her abilities to be comfortable in any equestrian activity.  “As a horsewoman, I’ve learned that if you can ride a Saddlebred, you can ride just about anything! Riding a Saddlebred requires focus and finesse in your hands, seat, legs, and mind, every step. You have to be sharp in all aspects of your riding and extremely in-tune with your horse in order to ride a Saddlebred well, and both are extremely important no matter what discipline you ride,” shared Karly. “My foundation in saddle seat has also served me well in dressage, cross country, jumping, reining, western pleasure, and general riding for fun.”

Currently, she is in the stage many former juvenile riders find themselves in, “how do I stay involved in the breed and community I love?” Growing up has brought relocations and reprioritizing extracurricular activities, but her love for the American Saddlebred never wains.  Fortunately, when a move to attend law school brought her close to Burin Stables in Ohio. Burin Stables makes it able for her to ride and even lease horses to show on occasion. Karly is not only a talented equestrian but also an artist and innovative professional. She owns and operates the equestrian lifestyle apparel company Saddlethreads that specializes in Saddlebred and show horse designs. Karly is continuing to work hard to finish her education and certifications to become a lawyer and become a horse owner again. 

Pictured: Vamoose by Emily Bauer

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