Mid America Rule Book - page 3

A Hundred Years of Adaptability -
(Article taken from the 1974 Mid America Fall Show Program)
The Missouri Fox Trotting Horse has been recognized as a specific breed since 1948. At
present, about 6000 such horses are registered on the pages of the Official Record of the
Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed Association.
The distinguishing characteristic of the Fox Trotting Horse is a broken gait, the animal
walking with the front feet and trotting with the back feet. The head and tail of the
Missouri Fox Trotter are slightly elevated, giving the animal a graceful carriage. The
nodding action of its head lends an appearance of relaxed pose, while adding attractive
rhythm and animation to its gait. Training rules for the Missouri Fox Trotter stress the
importance of a smooth but springy step that produces a gliding gait without swinging.
The canter is a natural gait for the Fox Trotter and the young horses are allowed to use it
during their early training.
The young Fox Trotter is broke to a good flat foot walk before the Fox Trot is perfected.
Due to the fact that the fox-trot is the natural gait, most trainers encourage breaking the
young fox-trotter to a brisk flat-foot walk before perfecting the fox-trot. Once the fox-trot
is perfected, the young horse is capable of attaining his maximum speed – traveling at a
comfortable but efficient five to eight miles per hour.
The gentle, trainable Missouri Fox Trotter is a product of over a century of careful
About 150 years ago, settlers and pioneers in the rugged Ozark hills realized the need for
a sure-footed, easy-traveling horse. As they migrated, coming west from the hills and
plantations of Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia, they brought with them their most
prized possessions, including the best of their saddle stock.
Most of this stock was of Arabian, Morgan and plantation horses from the deep south –
poised, graceful horses that responded with sensitive eagerness to training. In later years,
these horses were bred with more American Saddle horses, Tennessee Walkers and
Standard breeds. Thus, evolved the Missouri Fox Trotter – handsome in appearance and
agreeable in disposition.
Endurance – the ability to travel long distances at a comfortable speed of five to eight
miles a hour – made the Fox Trotting Horse a favorite of the country doctor, the sheriff,
assessor and stock raiser.
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