When I was a teenager I set a goal to breed a foal and raise it to become my own riding horse. I secretly wanted to be a cowboy like John Wayne and have an animal that would canter away, come down to a walk, or stand still and wait when I got off. All of the animals that I had ridden had all sorts of horrible vices and I was sick of trying to manage the horse so much that I couldn’t enjoy the ride.

It took a long while, but in my 30s, I was privileged to come into contact with a Morgan Stallion called JMF Royal Secret who had not long landed in New Zealand. I was battling with a new mare, still frustrated that I couldn’t get a good ride, when the opportunity came my way to breed her to Secret. The result was a fabulous wee foal who grew to become a wonderful hack. Secret’s Magic became the first horse that I bred and trained for saddle. Her full sister came two years later, having been born at Mt Tulloch.

Secret’s Gypsy, now 16 years old, has developed into a legendary trekker. She is strong, biddable, will squirt away quickly when required and come down to a loose rein walk straight after.

She is very sure footed, a fabulous climber, capable of carrying a heavy load long distances and travels very well in the float. She loves the water and is a very strong swimmer. During summer treks she will often cool herself down over lunchtime by standing up to her belly in the water half asleep.

Morgans are renowned for their versatility. Gypsy proves this regularly. She will tow hay out to the others in the winter and, on one famous occasion, towed a 4 wheeler out of the river after it broke its sump. She is responsible for giving lots of beginners heaps of confidence by being careful with them and easy to ride and has loved playing with them in the river.

While only a Part Morgan, her Morgan-ness is, without doubt, what makes her the wonderful animal to both own and use. We have trekked in both the South and North Islands, on private and commercial treks including the Great NZ Trek around the Waitomo Caves. She has done some coast to coasts in the North Island and loves a day or two at the beach.

I ride Gypsy in western rig with a bitless bridle. She is very responsive and neck reins like a dream. She is such a wonderful mate and a credit to her breed.

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