Last Updated on March 2, 2022 by Allison Price
Today, there are approximately 25,000 Rocky Mountain horses worldwide. A large portion of these horses still reside in Kentucky.
In the 1800s, the Rocky Mountain Horse was born in Kentucky’s Appalachian Mountains (not in the Rocky Mountains). Because of this, the sturdy, stable, and easy-gaited local horses were saddle horses. They also had to be hitched to plows to help herd cattle. The horses could then be driven to church every Sunday. The horses were kept by very simple people because their owners were extremely poor. They had to endure winters of rough silage and bark from trees. Only the most resilient horses can reproduce.
These horses were virtually unknown outside the region for many decades because of their absence of documentation. The breed’s foundation sire Ole Tobe was apparently from the Rocky Mountains. He was bred to local mares in mid-20th century to create the modern type. Today, most Rocky Mountain Horses can trace their roots back to this stallion.
The Kentucky locals called this chocolate-coloured, gaited colt “the Rocky Mountain Horse”. Over the years, the result was a line of smooth-gaited horses that became known as Rocky Mountain Horses.
In 1986, the Rocky Mountain Horse Association was founded. There are approximately 25,000 Rocky Mountain horses worldwide today, with a significant portion still living in Kentucky.
The Rocky Mountain Horse is a very people-friendly breed suitable for riders of varying skill levels.
The Rocky Mountain Horse is between 14.2-16 hh. It can be found in any solid color with no white above or below the knee, and very limited white markings on its face. Their features include a large, deep chest, straight legs, strong eyes, well-shaped ears, and an average-sized head. The profile is not concave or convex. Natural carriage is possible with the help of the gracefully arched neck and a break at each poll.
Rocky Mountain Horses are easy to ride and have a smooth, four-beat ambling gait. This allows them to travel great distances with ease and comfort. These horses are gentle, reliable horses that can be trusted and are willing to please. They are suitable for all skill levels.