Light Horse Breed Rocky Mountain Horse

Horses October 14, 2014 Print Friendly and PDF

Ashley Griffin, University of Kentucky

Today, the Rocky Mountain Horse (saddle type) is being used as a pleasure horse, for trail or show, and for competitive or endurance riding. This medium-sized horse originated in Eastern Kentucky and has an easy ambling, four-beat gait for traveling the foothills of the Appalachians. Sam Tuttle of Spout Springs, Kentucky, owned the stallion Old Tobe, to whom much of the Rocky Mountain stock can be traced.

The Rocky Mountain Horse has established characteristics:

  1. The horse must be of medium height from 14.2 to 16 hands, have a wide chest sloping 45 degrees on the shoulder, and have bold eyes and well-shaped ears;
  2. The horse must have a natural ambling, four-beat gait (single foot or rack), with no evidence of pacing. When the horse moves you can count four distinct hoofbeats, which produce a cadence of equal rhythm just like a walk:left hind, left fore, right hind, right fore. Each individual horse has its own speed and natural way of moving, traveling at 7 to 20 miles per hour. This naturally occurring gait is present from birth and does not require training aids or action devices;
  3. The horse must be of good temperament and easy to manage; and
  4. It must have a solid body color. Facial markings are acceptable as long as they are not excessive. There may not be any white above the knee or hock.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.