History of the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse
The breed of the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse is some 180 years old. The early settlers and pioneers recognized the urgent need for a sure-footed, easy traveling horse for the Ozark Mountains, a plateau covering Southern Missouri and Northern Arkansas. The Ozarks are known to be a very rocky and rough country.
1821 the first settlers crossed the Mississippi River.
Most of them came from Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois and Arkansas into the Ozarks.
They brought with them their best saddle stock. The new breed out of American Saddlebred, Tennessee Walker and Standard breeding was characterized by a gentle disposition and an easy, fluid 4-beat diagonal gait.
These horses were depended upon their surefootedness in the mountains and their ability to do whatever was needed around the homestead, ranging from hauling logs and working cattle, while at the same time, able to double as a stylish buggy horse or riding horse for the family, for sheriffs, doctors or tax people.
These horses became known as the Missouri Fox Trotter.
Free from envy we have to admit, honour and appreciate the knowledge of these breeders at this time knowing how to accomplish a new breed with all these virtues and qualities.
1948 a Breed Association (MFTHBA)was formed and in 1958 the Missouri Fox Trotter Horse Breed Association, located at Ava, Mo, was reorganized and reincorporated.
Today (12-31-2004) there are about 80 000 Missouri Fox Trotters registered in the US, Canada and Europe.
Their nickname became “Cowboy Cadillac” or “Cowboy Rolls Royce”.
1960 the US Forest Rangers decided for the unbeatable advantages of this breed and since then, there is no other horse for them to cover the huge Yellowstone-Park or other National Parks.
1959 the World Championship of the Missouri Fox Trotter, the “Show & Celebration” was started in Ava, Mo. For many years, organized as a show for Model-and Performance Classes, topped by the winner in the 3-Gait Champion Class- The World Grand Champion.
Since a couple of years a retrospect and a glance back started to the origin of the breed. Versatility was again the increasing demand and the entries in these classes are growing every year.
The MFTHBA took this development into account for the yearly “Show & Celebration”.
The new versatility classes have growing entries, showing the Ranchtype Foxtrotter with natural gaits, a natural gallop, cow sense, reining- and cutting abilities – after all the Ranch Horse of the 21th Century.
The Missouri Fox Trotter is now “The State Horse of Missouri” and “The Trail Horse No1” in the US.
Parallel to the US, the Missouri Fox Trotter started to conquer the Old World – becoming more and more popular in Europe –back to the roots.
It is said that the Queen of England imported the first Missouri Fox Trotters.
1992 the first Missouri Fox Trotters were presented at the Hypologica in Berlin and 1993 at the Equitana in Essen.
Now there are about 300 Missouri Fox Trotters in Austria, France, Germany, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and Tschechien.
1996 the European Championship of the Missouri Fox Trotter was hold for the first time and since that time takes place every two years.
From the beginning the horses in the show had to meet all the requirements regarding conformation, gaits and versatility
2006 High Point Shows, 2-3 per year, taking place in Northern and Southern Germany, replaced the European Championships. Judged by US Judges, sent from the MFTHBA.
Only the Missouri Fox Trotter who is qualifying in all three divisions by the highest points will become The European Champion of Champions.
Until today the most successful Missouri Fox Trotter in Europe is the black stallion GMC Black Velvet, who became two times in sequence “European Champion of Champions” in 2002 and 2004.He is back now at the Miller-Ranch, in Scottsdale, AZ for breeding. But his European Offspring still win 70% of all blue ribbons and championships. One of the best producer there ever was.