Rocky Mountain Horse

Around the turn of the 20th century, a young horse soon to be called the Rocky Mountain Horse appeared in eastern Kentucky that gave rise to a line of horses prized by North American and European owners. On the farm of Sam Tuttle in Spout Springs Kentucky, there stood a stallion "Old Tobe". This sure footed, gentle horse carried young, old, and inexperienced riders over the rugged mountain trails of Natural Bridge State Park where Sam held the concession for horse-back riding. Even though Old Tobe was a breeding stallion, he carried riders without faltering. He fathered many fine horses up until the age of 37, and many of the present Rocky Mountain Horses carry his bloodline.

The basic characteristics of the breed are a medium-sized horse of gentle temperament with an easy-ambling, four-beat gait. This gait made it the horse of choice on the farms and rugged foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. It was a horse for all seasons. It could pull the plows in the small fields, work cattle, be ridden bareback, or be hitched to a buggy. Because of its rugged upbringing, it tolerated winters in Kentucky with a minimum of shelter. Naturally, out-crossing with local horses did occur, but the basic characteristics of a strong genetic line have continued.
To truly be a Rocky Mountain Horse, a horse must meet certain criteria.
1: The horse must be of medium height from 14.2 to 16 hands and a wide chest sloping 45 degrees on the shoulder with bold eyes and well shaped ears.
2: The horse must have a natural ambling four-beat gait (single foot or rack) with no evidence of pacing.
3: The horse must be of good temperament and must be easy to manage.
4: All Rocky Mountain Horses have a solid body color. Facial markings are acceptable so long as they are not excessive. There may not be any white above the knee or hock.

The breed is best known for its gentleness, often being compared to the Golden Retriever dog as a means of describing their unusual enjoyment of human company. It is an easy keeper and a wonderful riding horse with a strong heart and lots of endurance. Today the Rocky Mountain Horse is being used as a pleasure horse, for trail riding, in the show ring and for endurance riding.