The Missouri Foxtrotter
Horses to Match the Mountains... Tough Country, Tough Horses
The Missouri Foxtrotter was originally developed in the Ozark region of Missouri by hard working, practical cattlemen who used their horses to drive large herds of cattle over long distances and through difficult terrain. They needed a horse that was sensible, hardy, sure-footed, smooth and comfortable to ride. It was discovered that the foxtrot gait tended to make a horse very smooth and sure-footed, so this gait became a standard goal for the early Missouri horse breeders. Since they weren’t producing show animals, and many farms were isolated, horses were bred using the good quality correctly gaited horses that were in the area. As a result, the Foxtrotting Horse has a strong mixture of Colonial (Spanish) horse blood with early saddle horse (American Saddlebred) breeding. There’s a lot of Tenn.Walking Horse in the Foxtrotter as well, with some Foxtrotter’s in the early years being DUAL Reg. Foxtrotter and Walker. The foxtrot gait is usually described as walking in front and trotting behind, because of the longer reach in front, and the sliding motion of hind legs, which allows for the non-jarring gait.
The Foxtrotter has more inbred "cow sense" than some of his gaited cousins. Many lines also share the more muscular appearance of the stock horse breeds used for ranch work. While not as muscled as today’s Quarter Horses, the Foxtrotter is nevertheless strong, blocky, and has good bone and excellent stamina. Many Foxtrotters perform the running walk, as well as a foxtrot. Foxtrotters come in a variety of sizes and colors, with the average size being around 15 H. You can find almost any color, from white to pinto. There have been many notable Foxtrotter stallions which were either grey or Palomino, so these more exotic hues are common to the breed.
Foxtrotters are doing well in competitive trail riding, accounting for many of the National High Point horses! They can do anything, from working cattle, to pleasure trail riding, and do it smoothly and with common sense. Foxtrotter Shows offer many classes, from regular performance and halter to reining and cow horse classes, showing the breed’s diversity.
The registration book wasn’t closed on the breed until about 20 years ago. Up until that time, any horse, regardless of breed or type, which did a correct foxtrot gait under inspection could be then registered as a Missouri Foxtrotter. Because of this, there is quite a variety of types and builds within the Foxtrotter breed