The Rocky Mountain Horse is one of those breeds we sometimes forget to recognize, but these rare beauties are truly one of a kind. Did you know these 5 fascinating facts about the Rocky Mountain Horse?
1. American Born and Bred
The Rocky Mountain Horse originated in the Appalachian Mountains of Eastern Kentucky back in the 1800s. There’s no documentation of the bloodline until the 1900s unfortunately, but through word of mouth, people have shared that their Rocky Mountain Horses were a vital part of their lives. The Rocky Mountain Horse breed can be linked back to one stallion named “Tobe.”
2. Unique Color
Although lighter coloring can be found in the Rocky Mountain Horse, the most common color is a brown solid coat and a flaxen mane and tail. To register a horse in the Rocky Mountain Horse Association, the horse cannot have any white markings above the knees. The contrast of the dark base and the bright blonde-like mane and tail can make you do a double-take when you see this majestic and beautiful horse.
Did you know that this breed is included in our list of 5 Horse Breeds That Have Unique Manes? Check out the article to learn about the other breeds with amazing manes!
3. The Rocky Mountain Horse Is One Tough Breed
Usually, in history, we hear about how having horses was a luxury, but for the people of Kentucky, having a Rocky Mountain Horse was once a necessity. These horses were a vital part of everyday life and were used for anything from carriage rides to Sunday Church to working cattle to plowing fields. But just because they were an important part of everyday life, that didn’t mean that the horses were pampered. Unable to build proper shelter meant that the horses had to rely on survival instincts to make it through the harsh winters and tough terrain. Only the toughest survived, and those that did survive passed on those skills and determination to their offspring.
4. Horse of Choice
For many Kentuckians, the Rocky Mountain Horse was not only a necessity but a breed of choice for many reasons including their versatility. This one-of-a-kind breed is loyal and has a gentle temperament – making these horses a great babysitter when needed. Because of their survival instincts, this unique breed also made easy keepers as not spending money and time on shelter meant that farmers could spend more time in the fields.
Rocky Mountain Horses are also known for their unique four-beat gait, meaning that you can count the four hoofbeats in a walking stride. Even better, the four-beat gate is completely natural for the Rocky Mountain Horse, which means that no training is required. This made the horse a smooth ride for a long day gathering cows all over the vast Kentucky countryside.
Today, these horses are used in just about every discipline from dressage to eventing. Their gate, personality, and sure-footed behavior make them the ideal all-around horse. The Rocky Mountain Horse is a horse we don’t always think about, unless you are from Kentucky of course! But these beautiful horses have worked hard to stay around and it’s our job to make sure that happens. Have you ever had an experience with a Rocky Mountain Horse or had the opportunity to own one? Do tell!
About the Author
Dani Buckley is a small-town resident in Montana. She is a veterinary technician manager and mom of eight four-legged kids – 5 dogs, 1 cat, and 2 horses. When she moved back home to Montana, her horses and her dogs moved with her (Carbon and Milo). The pack grew by three when she moved in with her boyfriend, Cody. Altogether there is a German Shepard (Lupay), a Border Collie (Missy), a Blue Heeler (Taz) and her two adorable mutts.
Her horses are her free time passion – Squaw and Tulsa. Dani has owned Squaw for 17 years and this mare has made 2 trips across the country with Dani! Squaw is a retired rodeo and cow horse. Her other mare, Tulsa, is an upcoming ranch horse. The girls have an unmatched personality and bond with Dani. She has been around horses her entire life and rodeoed throughout highschool and beyond. Now, she enjoys riding on the ranch, working cattle and trail riding.
Horse Courses by Elaine Heney
- Listening to the Horse - The Documentary by Elaine Heney & Grey Pony Films
- Shoulder In & Out Training for better balance, bend & topline development with your horse
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- Dancing at Liberty & Creating Connection with Your Horse (11 lessons) - Grey Pony Films