Getting Acquainted with the Rocky Mountain Horse
The Rocky Mountain Horse truly deserves its name. Its gait and special traits make it especially suited for navigating mountainous regions. Even the most inexperienced of riders can expect a safe and pleasurable ride from a Rocky Mountain Horse.
This horse breed has horses that are primarily gaited. Although many of them can trot, they are preferred for their four beat gait. This is arguably a more comfortable mode of movement than the trot and is therefore ideal for pleasure riders of all ages and levels of riding experience.
Unlike other gaited breeds though, the Rocky Mountain Horse has had a more demanding environment. It has had to endure a cold climate and rough terrain. This kind of environment is a primary reason why the breed has survived without a human organization for a long time. They are hardy and enduring horses.
Like other American gaited horses, this breed originated from the breeding of horses with English and Spanish blood. There is no clear date in the past few centuries that clearly indicate the organized breeding of these horses. The most popular account of the origins of the breed begins with a stallion named Old Tobe who lived in the mountainous regions of Kentucky a few decades back. The horse was owned by Sam Tuttle who accepted payments from people who needed a ride.
Old Tobe was said to be a unique horse. He was so sure footed even in difficult terrain that a rider felt comfortable and at ease on the saddle. He was also said to have been very friendly and easy to handle. For certain, Old Tobe was bred to have his particular traits that made him popular among inexperienced riders. Eventually, Old Tobe sired offspring of his own and was able to transmit his traits to his offspring.
The ability to transmit such a trait as a natural gait was indeed a sign of a budding new breed. It was only in 1986 however that the Rocky Mountain Horse was indeed recognized as a distinct breed. An association and a registry were formed for it. Aside from protecting the lineage and purity of the breed, horse breeders belonging to the association also have the responsibility to promote and encourage the pure breeding of the Rocky Mountain Horse.
Aside from its ambling gait, there are other ways to distinguish Rocky Mountain Horses. They generally stand at about 14.2 hands to 16 hands which put them at an average horse size. Horses of this breed also only come in solid colors. The most sought after color however is the beautiful chocolate coat paired with a flaxen mane. Some horses are allowed to have very minimal marks that break the solid coat color but only at the face and below the knees. They are gentle and sociable with humans.
In the past, these horses were used for a variety of purposes other than riding. They could be used to pull bogeys, herd cattle and pull plows. Today however, these horses are mainly used for pleasure riding. Sometimes they may also be found in show rings.