|The Missouri Fox Trotting Horse was developed primarily
from saddle horses and light harness horses in the rugged
Ozark hills during the 19th century. Early settlers
coming into the Missouri Ozarks from neighboring states of Virginia,
Illinois, Tennessee, and Arkansas. needed easy riding, durable mounts
that could travel long distances at a sure-footed, ground consuming gait.
The pioneers brought along with them their finest possessions,
including their best saddle stock, saddle horses popular in those
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These horses were depended upon for their surefootedness
in this mountainous region and their ability to do whatever was needed
around the homestead, such as plowing, hauling logs, and working cattle,
while at the same time able to double as a stylish buggy horse or riding
horse for the family. Easy gaited stock left their genetic
imprint on the Fox Trotting Horses of the Ozarks, the American Saddle Horses
of Kentucky, Walking Horses of Tennessee, Arabian,
Morgan Thoroughbreds, horses of the initial Spanish-Barb ancestry,
plantation horses from the deep South also "curly coated" horses
appear relativey frequently in Fox Trotters. These breeds
were combined to give the Fox Trotting Horse a smooth gait along with a
pleasing appearance and disposition.
Whatever the need this horse which eventually became
known as the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse proved capable and adaptable.
The ability to travel long distances at a comfortable speed of five to
eight miles an hour made the Fox Trotting Horse a favorite of the country
doctor, sheriff, assessor, and stock raiser. It soon became apparent
that horse able to perform the easy, broken gait called the Fox Trot were
the most useful in the rocky, forest covered hills of the Ozarks and selective
breeding for the Fox Trot gait began. A studbook for
the breed was opened in 1948 by fifteen men concerned with preserving this
unique breed.. In 1958 what is now known as the Missouri
Fox Trotting Horse Breed Association, located at Ava, MO was reorganized
and reincorporated. The Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed Association is
now an international association with affiliate charters throughout the
United States as well as many countries throughout the world.
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Missouri Fox Trotter Mare
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NATRC and Endurance Horse.
Today the breed is in demand as a pleasure horse, show
horse and for cross-country trail riding. It is often described as the
common man's pleasure horse because of its gentle disposition.
Missouri Fox Trotting Horses are historically tied to the grazing cattle
industry of the Ozarks. When automobiles made horses almost obsolete in
the everyday lives of most Ozarkians, Missouri Fox Trotting Horses survived
largely because the cattlemen of the region continued to use and breed
The Fox Trotting Horse is not a high stepping horse,
but an extremely sure-footed one. The distinguished characteristic
of the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse is the Fox Trot gait; comfortable,
sure-footed, sliding gait that produces very little movement in the back.
Missouri Fox Trot gait is basically a diagonal gait.
The horse walks
with spirited action in front while trotting with the hindlegs. The hind
hooves reach well forward and touch down with a sliding movement. Over
short distances, the famous Fox Trot gait produces speeds of 10 mph (16
km/h). This extremely sure footed gait gives the rider little jar since
the hind feet slide into place. The Fox Trot is a rhythm gait and the horse
can maintain it for long periods of time with little fatigue. The
head and tail are slightly elevated, giving the animal a graceful carriage;
and the rhythmic beat of the hooves, along with the nodding action of the
head, give the animal an appearance of relaxation and poise. The
Missouri Fox Trotter also performs a rapid flat foot
walk and canter. No special shoeing or training is
required for the Fox Trotting Horse to perform the gaits and their good
disposition and trainability are among their many desirable characteristics.
The Missouri Fox Trotting Horse ranges from14 to 16 hands
in height, and able to carry weight. The neck is graceful, in proportion
to length of body, and well-joined to body. The Fox Trotting Horse has
a neat, clean, intelligently-shaped head; pointed ears that are well-shaped;
good, large, bright eyes; and a tapered muzzle. The come in all colors,
with pinto paterns common in the breed.
Missouri Fox Trotter/Spotted Saddle Horse Fillie
Since the beginning of the breed association breeders
have worked to develop the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse into the much sought
after pleasure horse and show horse of today. Ninety percent of these MFTHBA
registered horses are owned by people who use them for trail riding, competition
and endurance riding, and pleasure riding. The Missouri Fox Trotting Horse
is also acclaimed as a show horse and is recognized for its beauty and
style in the show ring. Today there are more an 43,000 registered
Missouri Fox Trotters located in the United States and Canada.
PO BOX 1027
AVA, MO 65608