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The Rocky Mountain Horse breed originated in the United States in the late 1800's in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains of eastern Kentucky. At the time of it's beginnings, there was no understanding of the need to document anything about these horses. The people living in this region were quite unaware that one day their utility horses would become the foundation of a special breed of horse. The existence of this horse was practically a secret for many years to all but the inhabitants of the region.

They were sure footed, easy gaited, and the mount of choice for everyone. People used them for plowing small fields, herding cattle, traveling through the steep trails, and driving the buggy to church on Sunday.

The Rocky Mountain Horse Association's (RMHA) rendition of the history of the breed states there was a gaited colt brought from the Rocky Mountain region of the united states to the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in eastern Kentucky around 1890. He is the horse credited for the start of the Rocky Mountain horse breed. Little is known about the foundation stallion, but history indicated he was chocolate-colored with flaxen mane and tail, and he possessed a superior gait. The stallion was bred to local Appalachian saddle mares in a relatively small area and the basic characteristics of a strong genetic line continued. Sam Tuttle was the most prominent breeder of Rocky Mountain horses for the first three quarters of the 20th century. Sam Tuttle kept a sizeable herd of thirty to forty horses on his farm. He is considered as the man most responsible for the survival of the Rocky Mountain breed. Tobe was the primary stallion used in Sam's breeding program. Tobe was used for breeding until July of his 34th year, and he passed on his gait, disposition, and other great qualities to his offspring.

Tobe fathered many fine horses before his death at the ripe old age of thirty seven. One outstanding trait passed on to his get was longevity, and many of his offspring were still breeding into their late twenties and early thirties. 

One of the most popular colors for a Rocky is chocolate, however, they come in a wide range to name a few: Black, Chestnut, Red Chocolate, Bay, Palomino, Buckskin, Cremello, Blue Roan, Perlino, and Grulla.


The horses must be of medium height, 14-2 to 16 hands, a wide chest sloping 45 degrees on the shoulder with bold eyes and well shaped ears. The horse must be of good temperament and easy to manage. Horse must have a natural 4 beat gait with no evidence of pacing. The gait must be all natural with no devices used on the horse to improve gait.

All RMH's must have a solid body coloring. Facial markings are acceptable as long as they are not excessive. There must be no white above the knee or hock.

There is also a certification process the horse must undergo when the horse is riding age. This certification process will allow the horse to receive it's final papers and the horse will change from registered to certified. If you are interested in a riding age Rocky, make sure that the papers have the seal and say certified. 

Please check out breeders of the Mountain horses. If a horse you are looking at does not have the paperwork that is needed for the registry, then technically that horse cannot be called a Rocky Mountain or KMSH. Don't let that $900.00 horse with no papers convince you that you have a mountain horse. People say you can't ride papers but to make sure that you are gettting a true mountain horse with all the charachteristics that come with it, you really need that paper to be assured of what breed you actually have.

I do believe that this is where some of the bad comments that you hear when people say that their Rocky is mean, doesn't gait a lick, very hot, etc, etc. If you do not have paperwork saying it's a Rocky then it could be a heinz 57 and you may not get that wonderful horse that they are known for. We have been raising Rockies for over 20 years and the breed can't be beat for their temperament!  

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