The Morab horse is a breed that was originally developed by cross-breeding Arabian horses with Morgan horses. This began back in the late 1880s with the main intent being to create a fine carriage horse that was still substantial enough to carry out moderate farm labor.
The modern Morab horse continues this tradition of paired power and elegance. They tend to make competitive and attractive show animals. They are also strong but mild-mannered work and family horses.
In 1973 the first Morab registry was created. Up until this time, Morabs were primarily undocumented horses that were bred for type. Many early Morabs were registered with the American Morgan Horse Association, as the Morgan studbook was still open that time, and these horses have since been fully assimilated into the Morgan breed.
Newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst was an avid Morab breeder and he has been credited with the creation of the breed name by coining the term “Morab”. This was simply a combination of the names of the parent breeds.
As mentioned previously, the Morab is a breed that has been developed by breeding Arabian and Morgan horses. The Morab horse still contains many characteristics of both breeds and their typical conformation is compact, with powerful but sleek muscle structure as well as substantial bone structure. However, they do still manage to remain elegant and refined.
These horses have deep-set necks that are arched and strong, which provides easy breathing and fluid mobility. Like other horses that share heavy Arabian ancestry, Morabs have a compact build and shorter back length, with a well-developed undercarriage and good propulsion from behind.
These horses generally have powerfully built hindquarters that possess substantial muscle and bone. The forequarters are typically built very strongly as well, with a large, sloping shoulder and wide deep chest. Legs are rather thick, due to Morgan-influenced bone structure. They have comparatively short cannon bones, and solid, well-developed hooves.
The Morab head is generally very refined, carrying the Arabian's concave profile and wide forehead to some degree, while also displaying a more strongly muscled jaw and more substantial muzzle, typical of Morgan influence. The eyes are large, bright, and expressive, and afford the horse a very wide field of vision. The ears are generally small and alert, and are often fluted or tipped. Many Morabs have a thick and abundant mane and tail, often wavy and flowing, and "flagged" tail carriage, indicative of both Morgan and Arabian parentage.
When it comes to the size of a Morab horse the range can vary. This is due to the involvement of extensive lineages from both Arabian and Morgan breeds. Generally, Morabs stand between 14.2 and 15.2 hands (58 and 62 inches, 147 and 157 cm) high, but individuals can range from 14.0 and 16.0 hands (56 and 64 inches, 142 and 163 cm) or larger.
Within the Morab breed you can find all types of solid colors, with bay, chestnut, and gray being the most common. Dilution-factor coloration, such as buckskin and palomino, also occurs frequently, owing largely to Morgan influence, as dilution-factor genes do not occur in the Arabian breed. Tobiano, overo, and Appaloosa colorations are not acceptable, as neither parent breed displays such patterns. Roaning is occasionally seen, as is the dun pattern, although both are rare in the Morab.
White markings can be found on the face of some Morabs and can also be quite common. Also, the sabino spotting pattern does occur in some Morabs, due to the presence of sabino coloration in select Arabian bloodlines that have been used in Morab breeding.
When it comes to the temperament of the Morab horse it is best to describe them as a true combination of the Morgan and the Arabian. In general, Morabs tend to be very intelligent, curious and personal horses that are quick to learn. They also establish very good and strong relationships with humans, who they are very eager to please. Morabs also make excellent family horses and are sometimes used as lesson and therapy horses.