Gaining Ground with the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse
The horse breed name says it all. The Missouri Fox Trotting horse is a native of Missouri. Like many other horse breeds, this one was bred not for mere show, entertainment or companionship. The Fox Trotter horse was born because of a real need for its unique traits.
Missouri Fox Trotter Horse Origins
The history of the horse can be traced to the early years of the state of Missouri in the 1800s. Although the place was not exactly uncharted territory, it was not fully developed either. Those who came from the neighboring areas to settle in it had to deal with rough terrain and living conditions. Although the settlers did have horses with them, they found that there was a need for a specific breed that could navigate the terrain better and provide safe and comfortable rides.
It was then that the breeding of the Missouri Fox Trotting horse began. Like many other fabulous breeds, this one has had some influence from excellent foreign breeds. Among the breeds that were used were the Arabian and the English Thoroughbred. Local blood however was also used. Local established horses used for breeding included the Tennessee Walker and the American Saddle horse. Some horses with Spanish origins were also introduced along with some Standardbreds and Morgans.
The Missouri Fox Trotter soon proved its worth. They became experts at transporting people and objects over rocky and mountainous terrain. They were also used for farm work and were hitched to ploughs. They are however, most noted for their work with cattle. It is this function that has allowed them to stand the test of time despite the changes in farming and cattle handling methods. Cattle handlers continue to breed and use the Fox Trotter due to its excellent traits.
In 1948, more than a hundred years after the first of its kind were bred, a stud book and an association for the Missouri Fox Trotter were opened. Although the association had to stop for some time, it was eventually reopened after ten years. It continues to this very day to preserve and promote this beautiful breed.
Missouri Fox Trotter Horse Traits
The appearance of the Missouri Fox Trotter will give you the impression of a proud horse. It has well muscled legs, quarters and chest but its overall body is lean and slim. Its neck has a regal, slender bearing and its tail and head are set high. It has a full croup, a short back and sloping shoulders. In general, horses of this breed are mild tempered and can easily be managed. They have great stamina and can move quickly even with a load.
The most distinguishing trait of this breed however is its sure footedness. This is because the breed is able to perform the gait called the fox trot. In this gait, the two front limbs are securely on the ground before the hind limbs hit the ground in a sliding motion. The front legs walk while the hind legs trot.
Today, the Missouri Fox Trotting horse is perfect as a family horse used for pleasure riding. They may however also be used for a variety of western horse competitions such as driving, jumping and trail riding.