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AMHA Mabel Owen Media Award: Laura Behning




Today the Morgan horse world is filled with color. One of the reasons for that is the skillful use of media on the subject of colorful Morgans by author and researcher Laura Behning. It is for her body of work that AMHA is pleased to honor her with the 2020 Mabel Owen Media Award.

Sensing a revival in interest in the more exotic coat colors in the Morgan breed and to answer the many questions she was fielding on the subject, Laura created the website morgancolors.com. It is an encyclopedia of genetic information, illustrations of colorful Morgans and their ancestors, and specific descriptions of coat colors and their variations. When it was founded in 1995, morgancolors.com was among the earliest websites on the internet devoted to our breed.

Another website, silverdapplemorgansproject.com was a call to attention. Laura developed a suspicion that the 1955 mare Orcland Youlenda may have carried this rare silver gene. The 2002 confirmation of the gene’s existence in Morgans using the Red Factor test proved that the color had not died out. This website represents Laura’s mission to assure the unique color not only persists but is documented in our breed.

Today we can illustrate representatives of the colors known which exist in the breed with photos shot and catalogued by Laura. One result of this compilation of photographs is that Morgans are now pictured in three authoritative books: Equine Color Genetics, The Equine Tapestry, and Horse Color Explored. 

Laura’s articles for The Morgan Horse magazine on colorful Morgan horses began in 1998. She remains a devoted author for the official breed journal to this day with two to three articles a year celebrating these special horses. Her articles on Morgan colors are archived at morganhorse.com.  Laura has been featured in many other magazines and she edited the Rainbow Morgan Horse Association Newsletter through 2016.

Finally, you probably have visited Morgan breeder websites that are created and maintained by Laura; she provides this service for Warner Angus Ranch, Aljak Acres, Atwood Farm, Ortawn Morgans and Mountain Home Morgans, to name only a few.

The Morgan breed benefits when knowledge of our breed is shared in today’s media driven culture. Laura, we honor you today with the Mabel Owen Media Award for the creative service you have provided in painting a picture of the colors of our breed for all to see.

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