The Gaited Horse - The One Magazine For All Gaited Horses

Gaited Horse Home
Calendar of Events

Gaited Breed Profiles

Your Horse Story

Gaited Horse Classifieds

Letters from readers

Gaited Horse Ad Rates

Gaited Horse Links

Contact Us

Return to Breed Profiles Main Page

Racking Horse

Rack on!!
by Linda Lashley, TGH Field Correspondent for Racking Horses

In 1972, with the crowning of Go Boy's Roadrunner, and every year thereafter, the cry, "RACK ON!", has echoed through the State of Alabama at the Racking Horse Breeders' Association of America's (RHBAA) Annual world Grand Champion Celebration. The millennium year was no exception.

The final minutes were as thrilling as in any years' past. Steaming, heaving horses and their riders lined up waiting to hear the judging results as everyone in the arena held their breath. Then, finally, after what seemed an eternity, the announcer's voice proclaimed loud and clear, "The Racking Horse World Grand Champion for the year 2000 is, Pursuing Perfection, ridden by Mr. Larry Latham and owned by Leslie & Sandra Muguerza and Bill & Darlene Harris. If anything was said after that it was completely drowned out by the cheers of the emotional crowd.

Return to Top

From Concept to "Breed"
In the late 1960's, Joe D. Bright led a group of Alabama horsemen through the legalities with the USDA to recognize the Racking Horse as a distinct breed. Drawing heavily from the existing pleasure Walking Horse ranks, in 1971 the Racking Horse Breed was officially designated and the RHBAA was established as the registry. As in these days there was not much being done to represent the pleasure Walking Horse, the potential to promote a horse shown without action devices, a set tail, nor the canter was tremendous, and the new registry grew quickly. The intent was to "establish a registry to protect and perpetuate the breed"- to create an organization that would serve amateurs, breeders and exhibitors alike, as well as promote the horses. Did the charter members dream it would grow to include over 80,000 horses from the U.S. and several foreign countries? Did they foresee the Association's growth to approximately 3,300 members?

On October 10, 1975, the Racking Horse was officially adopted as the state horse of Alabama.

What's in a Name?
The "rack" as defined for the Racking Horse was the common name for the gait also referred to as the "single-foot". It is a square, evenly timed gait - an extension of the walk with more speed - and very smooth to ride. It may or may not be performed with high animation, a bobbing "shaky tail", and varying degrees of collection, in the ring or on the trail. It is as natural to the breed as walking, though it may be accentuated through training, pads, or riding styles.

Good looks, stamina and a calm, sweet, willing disposition have been bred into the Racking Horse since the beginning, yet the physical image is one of powerful grace. With a long neck, deep flanks, smooth legs and good bone, he is a horse built to go all day in comfort to the rider. Racking Horses come in all common horse colors, except Appaloosa patterns, and average about 15.2 hands at 1,000 pounds, a substantial pleasure riding mount.

The Rack Stuff!
Since winning the Racking Horse World Grand Champion Celebration's 'Trainer of the Year' award last year, Barbara Agnish, and her fiancee, Rick Parish, of Pine Ridge Farm, Dallas, GA, have worked hard, trained hard, and shown all over the Southeast. Their efforts were leading up to the millennium year 2000 Racking Horse Celebration in Priceville, AL.

Barbara is a petite blonde who could have been a model or perhaps a TV personality. However, showing Walking and Racking (as well as Quarter Horses) since she was five years old led her to choose training Racking Horses as her career in 1993. Now, at 33, she's very good at what she does, and she and Rick have a barn full of successful Racking Horses and satisfied clients to show for their hard work.

The long awaited final Saturday night of the Championship Celebration arrives. Guaranteed Perfect, ("Fletch" as he's known to his friends and admirers) with Rick riding, puts on quite a performance as the class travels the ring each way and then lines up for the "usual" presentation. Grooms are called in (Barbara runs into the ring), saddles removed, flecks of foam are wiped as the judges walk around each horse to evaluate from curly pointed ears to long flowing tails.

"Saddles on and riders up, please."

Tonight it's Barbara who must leave the ring and wait along with the crowd as the horses move off one more time before lining up for the announcement of the winner.

When it was over, Barbara, Rick and Guaranteed Perfect garnered the Reserve WGC, a fantastic honor, but there is always next year and most likely they'll be back to try again for that elusive WGC. Congratulations to Barbara, Rick and all the competitors on a grand showing.

Return to Top

Registration Requirements
Though the RHBAA was the founding organization that first recognized and documented the Racking Horse, there are several associations that currently register Racking Horses.

Racking Horse Breeders Association of America (RHBAA)
Horses can be registered with the RHBAA through two routes. The first is by pedigree in which any foal born in 1994 or after must be blood typed for parentage verification. Sire and dam will have also been blood typed either with the RHBAA or another association in which case an affidavit for verification is required. The second registration option is by performance. Since 1997 the registration by commission of any qualified horse of any age is allowed. As in the early days of the registry, a horse must perform his natural gaits for personal inspection by a qualified commissioner before registration is granted.

Walking/Racking Horse Registry (WRHR)
The WRHR began in October of 1999. It is an information registry predominately for Racking Horses because so many Racking Horses have no pedigree showing on their registrations because they are commissioned (registered on the basis of gait). Registration requires DNA typing.

There are several advantages of registering WRHR. Pedigree is included on the registration. A custom-made book is created for each horse that includes photos and articles on significant horses in the registered horse's background. Horses that running walk or rack are eligible to compete in FOSH sanctioned shows for points.

Lovers of fine horses will find the Racking Horse to be a willing and gentle companion providing hours and years of enjoyment on the trail, the hunt, in the ring, on the farm, in harness or under saddle.

Return to Top

For more information contact:
Racking Horse Breeders' Association of America
67 Horse Center Road
Decatur, AL 35603
Phone: (256) 353-7225

Walking /Racking Horse Registry
P.O. Box 291
New Haven, Kentucky 40051
Phone: 502-549-7348

United Racking Horse Owners and Exhibitors Association L.L.C.
P.O. Box 96
White Pine, TN 37890
Phone: (423) 674-7117
Horses registered with, SSHBEA, TWHBEA, OR RHBAA can be automatically registered with U.R.H.O.E.A.