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SHORT HISTORY OF THE MISSOURI FOX TROTTER
What is a Narragansett Pacer???
gaited horses in the US trace back to the now extinct Narragansett pacer, named as such after the area they first
set foot on this country in Rhode Island on the Narragansett Bay, a popular
port for incoming European settlers and their prized horses. The origins to the
breed can be traced to the early 18 century (1700’s) and is
considered the first American breed of horse. They were established from Spanish
and English horses. The Spanish Jennet , Irish Hobby, and Galloway ponies (also extinct) of
Scotland are frequently mentioned as a probable early source. The Narragansett
became a well established breed in our early history and used for riding and
for horse races allowed in Rhode Island (forbidden elsewhere) and for use by most
government officials such as George Washington due to their smooth ambling gait.
Later massive exporting to the Caribbean and many cross outs of the remaining horses
led the purest form of the breed into extinction as the last recorded pacer
died around 1880. However, gaited breeds in America today can trace their
heritage to the Narragansett Pacer. They were crossed with Morgans, Thoroughbreds,
and Arabians, and created new breeds such as the Standardbreds, American Saddlebreds,
Tennessee Walking Horse, Missouri Fox Trotters, and distantly related Rocky
Mountain Ponies. All these gaited breeds can claim heritage in the first
American breed, the Narragansett pacer.
The All American
In between the gaited horses we know today and the Narragansett
Pacer was a typified gaited breed closely related to the Narragansett Pacer but
crossed with the Thoroughbred, Morgans,
and Arabians….this horse was simply called the ”American Horse” The American Horse migrated east with the early
settlers as they came into Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee. They brought
along with them several breeds of horses such as the draft horse, the race
horse, and the American Horse as their all purpose using horse with easy riding
gaits. Slowly over time and with slight variances these horses evolved
into the gaited horse breeds we know today. Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri and other states modified
this breed into their own specific gaited riding horse, developing unique styles. In
Missouri, the Ozark mountains required a sure footed horse and the “All American Horse” was bred to preserve and promote the foxtrot and to create an all purpose ranch and riding
horse later called the Missouri Fox Trotter. The fox trot was ideal for the sure-footed,
ground covering gait needed in the rugged Ozarks.
The Gaited Breeds
Of course all horses have gaits but what do we mean by the "gaited breeds"??? Horses are considered gaited if they can perform intermediate gaits to the basic walk, trot, and canter. These intermediate gaits are genetically based and involve a tendency to place the feet in a manner that is slightly staggered or changed from the standard three gaits. Often the footfall pattern creates a very comfortable and steady gait that can be maintained for long periods of time: the fox trot is one such gait. Some horses can be trained to do an intermediate gait that does not come natural and it may takes many hours of training to acheive. We are breeding for the natural gait that the horse can be seen doing out in the pasture before training. With the foundation genetics of the fox trotter they should perform naturally. Training to cues is needed but not training to gait.
In summary: when the Narragansett Pacer became extinct in its’
purest form it left behind a large influence through cross-outs which became known as the All American Horse:
THE ALL AMERICAN
---------in Kentucky: The American
Saddle Horse (later known as the Saddlebred)
The Tennessee Walking Horse-
The Missouri Fox Trotter- 1948 registry
All these horses as descendants of the Narragansett ambling horse are
genetically predispositioned to intermediate gaits. Some horses focus on the
more lateral gaits (where the legs on the same side move together, i.e. pace)
and some gaited horse breedings focus on the diagonal gait (opposite front and
back legs move together, i.e. trot)and other gaits are what are called square
where all feet are measured onto the round equally, i.e. walk, flat foot walk,
You may ask just what is the fox trot?
The difference between a fox trot and a regular trot:
In a standard two beat trot the horse hops
from two diagonal legs to the other…creating a jolt that is hard on the horse
and rider…in the Missouri Fox Trotter this same trot is slightly changed so
that the foot fall is slightly out of sync creating a situation where there is
always contact with the ground. The fox trot is often described as walking with
the front and trotting with the hind feet.
A familiar sound pattern to describe the rhythm is” A chunk of meat and
two potatoes”, which can be said to the rhythm of the fox trot. Fox Trotters are judged for their flat foot
walk, their fox trot, and their rocking horse canter.
One 2012 foal due in October
Two foals due in spring of 2013
New sire ...exceptional pedigree and performer
One of A Kind aka "Fella"...please see him on the stallion page
805-237-0914 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Located in Templeton California near Carriage Vineyards and Pomar Junction Winery
Five levels of
Membership ~ coming this summer
Now offering basic riding classes
Must pass basic
riding classes before becoming a member.
Three -eight classes
for certificate depending on skill level at start. $30/class. Some riders may
waive requirement with interview and practical.
Thank you for your interest!
Please don't hesitate to call and ask questions
Miss Myra and Miss Brandy Supreme are waiting for you to begin your test ride!
THE BELOW ARTICLES ARE BY GAITED AUTHOR LEE ZIEGLER ...At Mp Foxtrotters we are breeding for the older style of fox trot and with our new stallion "Fella" we hope to achieve that goal.
Some of Lee's articles are reproduced here:
Tips for Missouri Fox Trotter Versatility Success
MFTHBA versatility competitors share some strategies that have helped them improve their performance.
By Lisa Munniksma
the rising popularity of the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed
Association (MFTHBA) Versatility Program, many riders are seeking out
ways to improve their performance. With 19 events to choose from,
including gymkhana, speed events, jumping and more, there’s a lot to
work on. Here, three MFTHBA versatility competitors share some
strategies that have helped them with these seven tips:
Study the rule book.
MFTHBA Trainers Committee Board of Directors representative Gabby
Moore, DVM, says the rules are similar to those of other breeds, but
there are some differences.
Choose a horse based on disposition.
“The most important part is horse selection,” says MFTHBA Versatility
Judges Committee member Merle Arbo. “If you don’t have a willing
partner for versatility classes, it’s not going to happen.”
Start small and build from there.
“Pick your classes. Don’t just enter everything. Pick two or three
classes you want to excel in, and when you get those down, add a class,”
There is a lot of excitement surrounding the versatility program, and it’s easy to take on too much and overwhelm a horse.
Practice makes perfect.
“The more you work with your horse before the horse show, the better you’re going to do at the horse show,” says Arbo.
When it comes to the slow precision work, a lot of people would
rather just skip it, but acing the sidepass, turn on the haunches, and
overall control of the horse’s body takes hard work.
Get the gaits down first.
“You need to have a pure foxtrot and a pure flat-footed walk,” says Dr. Moore.
MFTHBA Versatility Committee chair Julie Moore agrees: “The No. 1
concern of those of us in the MFTHBA organization is maintaining the
wonderful, smooth gaits of our Missouri Fox Trotting Horses
Therefore, the first step in any of our training programs is to develop
the correct execution and rhythm in our horses’ gaits.”
Long trotting is not a bad thing.
Julie Moore says she does a lot of long trotting with her Missouri
Fox Trotters, even though some people would say not to long trot a
“The long trot is the only gait at which the horse will truly develop
the muscles along his topline—the muscles along the back—evenly on both
sides. Also, in a long trot the horse learns balance and the proper use
of his shoulders and hindquarters to develop a nice long stride,” she
Work on suppling and flexing, too.
“You want a nice, fluid, supple, collected horse, just like in any other discipline,” says Dr. Moore.
“However, trainers must guard against asking the Fox Trotting horse
to back off the bit and round their frame too much as it will adversely
affect their gaits,” Julie Moore cautions.
Once these seven steps are practiced well, Missouri Fox Trotters
headed for the versatility arena can begin more specialized training in
areas of interest, such as ranch cutting, pleasure driving, and hunter