to Breed Profiles Main Page
of the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse is the Fox Trot, an extremely
sure-footed, smooth gait, that can be maintained over long distances
without tiring the horse. It is a broken diagonal gait in which
the front legs exhibit a long reach and the rear legs glide into
place, often "capping", or overstepping the front track. The rhythm
is unmistakable as the front foot hits the ground a
split second before the opposite (diagonal) rear foot. The break
in rhythm may be somewhat variable from horse to horse.
also perform a fast, rhythmic flat walk and a rolling canter.
the 18th Century
Though fox trotting
horses have been recognized the world over for centuries, only since
the mid-18th century, when Ozark
Mountain settlers began to carefully select breeding stock,
has the Missouri Fox Trotters began to develop into distinct breed.
Bred to be a smooth, sure-footed riding horse that could cover rocky,
hazardous ground, the Fox Trotter emerged into a mount unsurpassed
for the demands of the terrain.
have been credited with contributing to Missouri Fox Trotter bloodlines.
From the available plantation horses of the region at the time,
including Narragansett and Canadian Pacers, to horses from what
were to become American Saddle bred, Standard bred and Tennessee
Walking Horse lines, to Morgan, Thoroughbred
and Arabian strains, breeders chose the best of what was available
to eventually establish the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse we know
No concrete conformation
Because it is
relatively new as a breed and because of the variable influences
that went into developing the Missouri Fox Trotter, there is no
concrete "type." Conformation tends to range from stock horse type
to Morgan, etc., but the overall appearance should always be one
of balance, athleticism and agility. Height ranges from 14 to 16
hands, weight around 1000 pounds.
Fox Trotters are to exhibit good
conformation, with a graceful, slightly arched neck joining just
above the points of the shoulder, cleanly tapered head and muzzle,
large, bright, wide-set eyes and well-shaped, pointed ears. A strong
reasonably short back, deep body, chest and flank, and well-sloped
and muscular shoulder with tapering, well muscled legs and strong,
properly-sized feet complete the picture of a good Fox Trotting
Though all colors are accepted, sorrels are the most common,
followed by palominos, then grays.
A versatile horse
Fox Trotter carries his head and tail slightly aloft, nodding in
time to the rhythm of the gait. Graceful and relaxed, he is a versatile
horse that looks good doing anything from riding herd on cattle
to covering long distances in riding competitions. Considering that
some lines trace their ancestry back to the same horses that helped
found the American Quarter Horse breed, it's little surprise that
these horses show a lot of "cow."
Fox Trotters excel in distance
riding and are the favorites among U.S Forest Service personnel
in rough terrain areas, such as the Rocky Mountains, for their strength,
stamina and smooth riding gaits.
Fox Trotting Horse Breed Association was formed in 1948, to preserve
the breed. As the breed grew in popularity the association was reorganized
in 1958. In 1981 the American Horse Show Association officially
recognized the breed and began offering specific classes for horses
to be shown in two or three gaits (including canter). Today appreciation
for the breed has escalated with nearly 50,000 horses registered
throughout the U.S. Canada, Austria and Germany. The national headquarters
remains near Ava, Missouri, where annual shows and celebrations