to Breed Profiles Main Page
Mountain Saddle Horse
the hills and "hollers" of the Bluegrass state came a special horse:
"Not big enough for draft, but you didn't hook them wrong. Women
and children used them because of their disposition and everything,
and when you called on them, they'd get in the collar and stay there
- Sam Tuttle,
Spur Magazine, 1976.
any of the standard fare as to what a Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse
is and you will find the same story that sparked the Rocky Mountain
begins in the 1890's, when some folks from Virginia, who had settled
somewhere in the Rocky Mountain region, forsook the mountains and
trudged home, with at least one colt in tow. Spending a night near
Red River Bridge in Kentucky, they were persuaded to sell the colt.
That colt, or his get, eventually found his way into the string
of one Sam Tuttle. Since the bloodline had come to him by way of
the Rocky Mountains, he referred to the offspring as his "Rocky
Mountain horses". And for many, the name stuck.
horses were crossed over the years with blood from American Saddlebreds,
Tennessee Walking Horses and others whose gait, form and disposition
met his approval. His aim was a smooth, four-beat gait, outstanding
disposition, willingness and versatility. His horses also came
to be known for their strength, endurance and for being easy keepers,
of horses survive in Kentucky
horses became commonly displaced by tractors and were few and
as pleasure horses, Tuttle's stock, always in high demand, found
its way far afield of the Natural Bridge State Park in
Estill County, Kentucky, where they had become a local treasure.
Throughout Kentucky, pockets of these horses survived, all believed
to be descendants of a stud colt that walked out of the
Mountain Saddle Horse Association was established, March 22, 1989
in Irvine, Kentucky by Robert Robinson, Jr, a life-long owner
and breeder of "saddling" horses, to preserve, improve and promote
To be registered a horse must move in a natural,
four-beat gait -- the Kentucky Mountain Saddle gait as it is called
within the breed -- as well as in a collected "Show Walk" and a
relaxed walk, maintaining good form and demonstrating a distinct
difference in speed between the three.
Horses are to be shown
in factory keg shoes or none at all, and no evidence of artificial
gait training or devices is tolerated in the ring. Horses must
display these gaits under saddle for an approved KMSHA examiner,
either in person, or via video tape, to be certified as breeding
of registration are that legendary gentle disposition, a solid
body color with white allowed only on the belly, legs and face,
a height of at least 11 hands for Class B certification and 13.3
hands for Class A, and good conformation with medium bone.
Many bloodlines being incorporated
the original Mountain Horse stock forms the basis for the Kentucky
Mountain Saddle Horse, horses from many different bloodlines are
being incorporated into the formation of the breed as well, including
Paso Finos, Tennessee Walking Horses and others that meet the
above criteria. Willing and alert, sound and smooth, these horses
promise to be the perfect all-around pleasure mounts.
horse registered was a beautiful chocolate stallion with white
mane and tail, General Jackson, belonging to Mr. Robinson, who
still stands today at Hawk Hill Farms, Irvine, Kentucky, along with
two other foundation stallions, Amigo Blue and Robinson's Sundown
foundation mountain horses were registered, the KMSHA welcomed
other horses possessing the traits they sought to create a larger
gene pool. The famed Paso Fino stallion, Coral La CE', exemplified
the traits the founders were hoping to perpetuate and was admitted
as a foundation stallion. This seems a natural outcross from the
original mountain stock as a 1989 blood analysis by the Gluck
Research Center at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, revealed
two of the three identifiable genetic markers that verified Mountain
Horses as a distinct breed matched those of Spanish stock.
Very likely, the original colt from the Rocky Mountains was of
Spanish origin. By expanding the genetic base for the Kentucky
Mountain Saddle Horse, while maintaining the integrity of the
breed's credo -- temperament and gait -- the KMSHA seeks to avoid
many of the problems that go along with limited genetic material.
and awareness of Mountain Horses grows, so does the role of the
KMSHA. It has grown from "a handful of horses" to over 1000 members,
and nearly 6000 horses registered.
Robert Robinson, Jr. President
KMSHA P.O. Box 505 Irvine, KY 40336