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Outdoors The Missouri Foxtrotters

The Missouri Foxtrotter

The early settlers in this area needed an easy-riding, sturdy and even- tempered horse for life in these steep, rocky hills. To come up with such a horse, the settlers started breeding high-spirited five-gaited horses together with the calmer Tennessee Walkers. From this combination, the Fox Trotting Horse was born. 

Fox TrotterThe graceful, rhythmic gait of the Fox Trotter makes this breed of horse easy to ride. Settlers used them for both riding and working. The horse could handle journeys in the rough hill country and could travel long distances at a comfortable speed of five to eight miles an hour. Today many people keep this breed for pleasure riding, competitions and for the growing activity of cross-country trail riding. Once called just "saddle horses," the Missouri Foxtrotter has come to be known worldwide for traveling by horseback in style. 

The Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed Association describes the horse like this: "The Fox Trotting Horse is not a high stepping horse, but an extremely sure-footed one; and, because of the sliding action of the rear feet, rather than the hard step of other breeds, the rider experiences little jarring action and is quite comfortable in the saddle for long periods of time."

In 1948 a group of horse breeders started the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed Association. The Association has grown to 5,500 members with more than 46,000 registered horses. The Association owns a 68-acre farm with an arena and stables just north of Ava on Highway 5. Two national horse shows are held there each year. The Spring Show takes place the second weekend in June. The Fall Show and Celebration begins on Labor Day and runs that entire week of September. The Association crowns the World Grand Champion Fox Trotter on Saturday night.

Whether you're a Foxtrotter fan or prefer the style of the western Quarterhorse, you'll find many opportunities around the watershed to ride individually or in trailrides. Horseback riding is permitted on most state conservation land and national forest land. 

Link: Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed Association 

Sources: Official Rules For Judging and Exhibiting The Missouri Fox Trotting Horse, The Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed Association.  Some Fundamentals On Training The Missouri Fox Trotting Horse, The Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed Association.  A Living History of the Ozarks, Phyllis Rossiter.
Written by Hank Dorst and Marideth Sisco.