Breeder of Rocky Mountain Horses

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The Rocky Mountain Horse

       About 160 years ago, a type of horse was developed in Kentucky with a soft, smooth gait and gentle disposition.  Today we can trace the beginnings of all American gaited breeds back to these horses, including Tennessee Walkers, Fox Trotters, American Saddlebreds and the Rocky Mountain Horse. The hallmarks of this breed were a gliding 4-beat gait and a wonderful, gentle disposition. They were gentle enough to be ridden by people of all ages, strong enough to pull wagons and plows and smooth-gaited enough to provide a luxurious mode of transportation in the age before automobiles.  They were owned and bred by the common folks of the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and remained largely a secret of this region for many years.

             Around the end of the 19th century, a horse showed up in Kentucky named the ROCKY MOUNTAIN STUD COLT OF 1890. Tradition has it that a family who was moving back East brought this horse cross-country from the Rocky Mountains. He was an exceptional stallion—gentle enough to be ridden by children, sure-footed in the mountains, able to pull a plow or a wagon, and be ridden by the old and young alike.  He had a gentle, four-beat gait and he was an unusual chocolate color with flaxen mane and  tail. His looks, personality and gait caught the attention of everyone who knew him; He was remarkably similar to the native stock, which had been developing in Kentucky for many years and was extensively bred to mares of this stock for the rest of his life. One of his offspring, Old Tobe (Hind's Stud) became the foundation sire for the breed now known as the Rocky Mountain Horse.


The Rocky Mountain Horse Association is Formed

       The Rocky Mountain Horse Association was officially formed in 1986 to promote

 and preserve the offspring of these crosses as a unique breed. This was the first

 Mountain Horse registry. The chocolate color with flaxen mane and tail (just called

 “Chocolate” by Mountain Horse people) is a very popular aspect of the breed

 and many Rocky Mountain Horses are Chocolate. Today, Rocky Mountain

Horses come in all colors--black, bay, chestnut (sorrel), buckskin, cremello, perlino,

 gray, palomino, roan, etc.--the only color restriction is no excessive white markings

 (see registry guidelines). All horses must prove they possess the smooth gait and

 gentle temperament upon which the breed was founded before they can be

 certified to breed. 

 Today (2015), there are approximately 24,000 registered Rockies in the world.



Rocky Mountain Horse Association (RMHA  (859)243-0260


Bonnie Hodge has written an excellent book on Rocky Mountain Horses. She can be contacted at


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