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By Maurice Gainsbourg

Last updated: 23rd March 2018

Missouri Fox Trotter


Maurice Gainsbourg
Last updated: 23rd March 2018

The Missouri Fox Trotter is an interesting horse breed developed in Missouri in the United States of America. This breed, with its medium body stature, is primarily used for trail riding as well as working on the farms or ranches.

Missouri Fox Trotter Horse

Quick Information

Other Names Fox Trotter, MFT
Temperament and Personality Docile, calm, reliable, placid, good-natured disposition, loves human company
Physical Characteristics/Description Straight face profile, muscular body, medium-length neck ending in withers, well-shaped pointed ears, bright eyes, tapered muzzle, sloped shoulders, short back and sturdy legs, well-proportioned and properly shaped hooves
Colors Black, roan, champagne, brown, cremello, grullo, dun, palomino, buckskin, perlino, coupled with white markings on the face and leg
Common Use Trail riding, pleasure riding, field trials, riding programs for the physically challenged, endurance riding and competition.
Weight 410kg to 520 kg on an average
Life Span/Expectancy 20 to 30 years (while some live for more than 30 or even 40 years )
Height (Size) 14 to 16 hands ( 142cm to 163 cm; 56 inches to 64 inches)
Health Generally healthy horses with no known breed-related health problems or diseases but vet checkups along with vaccinations to prevent certain common diseases like equine viral arthritis strangles and influenza
Gaited Performs an ambling gait called the fox-trot that is a four-beat diagonal gait; another gait is the flat foot walk conducted in a lateral step sequence and canter that is a three beat rhythmic gait
Popular Traits Tolerant to situations of any kind, sure-footed, have a high stamina as well as a smooth gait.
Feeding/Diet Hay and grain like most horse breeds
Country of Origin Missouri, United States
Ancestors/Bloodlines American saddle breed, Tennessee Walking Horse, Morgan, Arabian and Standardbred
Year/Time of Development Developed around the 19th century with the breed registration beginning in 1948
Breed Information Registered by the MFTHBA (Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed Association)

Missouri Fox Trotter Video:

History and Origin

The development of this breed began in the rugged terrain of the Ozark Mountains in the 19th century by the settlers who mostly arrived from Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. In fact, they needed horses that were durable, easy to ride and could travel for long distances at a sure-footed and stable gait. When Missouri had achieved its statehood in the year 1821, the settlers who came here brought along with them saddle horses that were highly accessible and suitable in those regions. It soon came to observed they possessed a remarkable capacity for performing an easy and broken gait known as the “fox trot” that was highly convenient in the rocky Ozark hills covered with forests. This particular breed also was of great use to the cattlemen because of their smooth movements and capacity of working with the cattle.

In the year 1948, the MFTHBA (Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed Association) had been founded in Ava, Missouri for the purpose of registering horses having fox-trot like gait along with other specified physical attributes. The first set of these horses was exported to Europe during the 1950s. By 2002, they went on to be the state horse of Missouri officially. They were not only observed in the whole of United States but also in Canada and many countries of Europe. The number of registered horses by the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed Association until 2012 is greater than 97,000.

The EMFTHA (European Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Association), affiliated to the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed Association, developed in Europe in the year 1992. By 2009, Europe had about 350 horses belonging to this breed, whereas 350 of them had been living in Germany.

The Foundation Fox Trotter Heritage Association formed in 2006 had a goal of promoting and preserving the original Fox Trotter breed observed in the initial 20 years of the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed Association registry. They wanted to minimize the Tennessee Walking Horse blood as they were looking for a breed that had a closer resemblance to the original Fox Trotter.

 Interesting Facts

  • They are an excellent choice for children and new riders because of their calm nature, versatile nature and desire to please their masters.
  • As they have a smooth gait, the riders are free from the fear of having a bouncing and bumpy ride in the course of their journey, thus making them an appropriate choice for those with minor disabilities.
  • Fox Trotter mares are often crossed with donkey jacks to create mules having a gait of the fox trot used for carrying trail riders as well as hunters mostly in the western parts of U.S.
  • Though no special shoeing is needed for this breed, those with flat plates help their hind feet in sliding thus making their gait a smooth one.
  • In 1996, the European Championship Show for the Missouri Fox Trotter took place for the first time.
  • The Missouri Horse Show Association formed in 1951 aims in promoting the development breeding and marketing of light horses in Missouri.
  • The correct conformation of the Missouri Fox Trotter will help it in carrying weight for a longer period, providing comfort to the rider.
  • This breed is said to resemble the Quarter horse in terms of its athletic nature, smooth gait like the Tennessee Walker as well as the stamina and energy of the Arabian horse.
  • The Missouri Fox Trotter Horse Riding Academy, located at Driftless Valley Ranch in Wisconsin provides assistance to people for riding and understanding horses in a better way.

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