In the Spotlight

Morgan McCarthy-Warda of Lapeer, Michigan, and her horse, Mea Major Mito, are the definition of a long-term partnership.

By Kara Oldford
The American Quarter Horse Journal
August 27, 2013

Morgan McCarthy-Warda and Mea Major Mito, photo courtesy of Impulsive Concept Designs

“Everything we have done, we have done together. For him to take me from lead line to amateur and still love his job is an accomplishment,” Morgan McCarthy-Warda says of Mea Major Mito. (Photo courtesy of Impulsive Concept Designs)

Anyone who has developed an incredible bond with an American Quarter Horse understands the connection one can have with a horse after just weeks. Rarely do we see a bond that has been nurtured for 21 years.

For Morgan McCarthy-Warda, 20, of Lapeer, Michigan, her horse was part of her family even before she was. In 1992, Morgan’s aunt bred her mare to Mito Cierra and the result was Mea Major Mito, Morgan’s equine partner. Now in her first year of amateur, Morgan has shown Mea Major Mito, or “Wilson,” since she competed in lead line.

“When my mom was pregnant with me, she said Wilson always sniffed at her stomach,” Morgan recalls. “After I was born, he took me through lead line and at the time my mom was still showing in the western pleasure with him.”

“He would stop on the rail if he heard my voice. He knew I was his girl from the beginning and has always been my guardian.”

Morgan, a former Michigan Quarter Horse Youth Association president, says that her relationship with her horse is like brother and sister.

“My mom would laugh and tell you we fight like brother and sister, as well. We pick on each other, get mad at each other, but it never lasts long. We both have learned to forgive one another and that has been a huge factor in all that we have accomplished,” Morgan says.

With more than 600 points to their names, the duo has a lot to be proud of in their many years together, including an AQHA Youth Performance Champion title and Superiors in youth showmanship, horsemanship and hunt seat equitation and amateur showmanship. Among their accomplishments is being named finalists at the 2011 Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show, Morgan’s favorite show.

“It was always such a positive and enriching experience. To see that many kids from around the world be brought together by one unique passion is incredible,” Morgan says.

Although Morgan has a lot to be proud of, she does not consider her greatest accomplishment to be an award the pair has won.

“Everything we have done, we have done together. For him to take me from lead line to amateur and still love his job is an accomplishment,” Morgan says of Wilson. “We have both failed and we have both won, but the only thing that matters with that is that we have done both as a team. He is just as willing as me to learn and try and improve, and that has strengthened us.”

Morgan has a great attitude about showing and loves many different aspects, but she was able to pick just one as her favorite.

“My favorite part about showing is the ‘moment of truth,’ ” Morgan confesses. “I love the feeling when you are walking into the World Show or (All American Quarter Horse) Congress arena and you are telling yourself, ‘This is it.’ All your work has brought you to that moment, and it is exciting. I let it motivate me.”

Although she did not know what to expect in her first year of amateur competition, Morgan and Wilson accomplished another goal together. Morgan hoped to qualify for the Bank of America Amateur World Championship Show, since she had already qualified for the Ford Youth World before she turned amateur, and that was a goal they readily accomplished.

As for what’s next for these 20-somethings, Morgan says she is just thankful for the time they get together.

“Past this year, I really am just thankful that Wilson can still do his job. Every time I walk in the show ring, I just go for the ride and have fun,” Morgan says positively. “I guess you never know how much time you get, and if he is still willing to do this all for me, any successes that may come in future years will be another reason to thank God for my incredible partner.”

The American Quarter Horse Journal loves to feature the hard-working AQHA exhibitor, and In the Spotlight is the Journal’s fun new way to do so. Do you know a hard-working AQHA competitor who deserves some time in the limelight? Email AQHA Internet Editor Tara Matsler at tmatsler@aqha.org to submit story ideas, then visit www.aqha.com/inthespotlight to view more In the Spotlight stories.