The Rocky Mountain Horse developed in the USA for multi-purpose riding, driving and light draft works. Along with their gentle disposition, they are famous for their four-beat ambling gait, that is intermediate between a walk and a canter (gallop), technically called a ‘single-foot gait’. This makes them ideal for farm work and assures a smooth riding experience through the rugged foothills of the Appalachians.
|Also Known As||RMH|
|Behavioral Characteristics||Willing and adaptable; overall docile personality|
|Physical Description/Traits||A small head with large, bold eyes, a well-sloped shoulder and a broad chest|
|Coat Colors||All solid colors accepted by the registry, but preference is to ‘chocolate’-brown (also called ‘silver dapple’)|
|Height/Size||14.2 to 16 hands (58 to 64 inches, 147 to 163 cm) –
|Weight||Light; 925 pounds|
|Life Expectancy||37 years|
|Common Uses||Trail riding, working cattle, light agriculture, sports (jumping, dressage, endurance)|
|Health Problems||Individuals (usually the silver dappled) can be born with ‘Anterior Segment Dysgenesis’ (ASD), an inherited eye disease that appears within the age of four months, for which they require a screening eye examination|
|Type||Working Horse, Riding Horse, Sport Horse|
|Ancestors (Bloodlines)||American Saddlebred, Tennessee Walking Horse|
|Popular Qualities||Smooth-gaited, good at jumping, easy to train, suitable for novice owners and children|
|Feeding/Diet||Do not require the same volume of food as other breeds of the same size; do well in good quality grass and hay; grains not required|
|Time of Origin||Late 19th to early 20th century|
|Country of Origin||USA (Appalachian Mountains, Kentucky)|
|Association, Conformation & Registry||Rocky Mountain Horse Association, USA
This breed originated from the American Saddlebred and the Tennessee Walking Horse in the early 20th century in the east of Kentucky, USA. A well-known breeder of the time named Sam Tuttle used his pet horse named ‘Old Tobe’ as the stud to a line of horses that resulted in the present day RMH breed.
Because of its even temperament, hardiness and the ability to withstand the winter, these horses became a favorite to the farmers and the local people inhabiting the rocky regions of the Appalachians.
Initially, the Rocky Mountain Horse were bred in small numbers in different parts of Kentucky. With their growing popularity, the locals refrained from crossing them with other horses so as to preserve their natural versatility, thus keeping their blood relatively pure.
In 1986, the ‘Rocky Mountain Horse Association’ was established to assure organized breeding, and thus, increase the population. As of 2015, the association has registered approximately 25,000 individuals.