email@example.com: Re: Gaited Horses
Re: Gaited Horses
Wed, 3 Dec 1997 20:12:55 -0500 (EST)
I can't stand on the sidelines anymore, so I will delurk here.
After 25 years of arabs, although I have great appreciation for a good
arabian with a good mind, about 8 years ago I bought my first Missouri Fox
Trotter. In fact, I traded 2 1/2 junk (backyard) arabs for a 5 year old
gelding, who was sound, pretty, and unbelievably level-headed. My first
foxtrotter. I sold him for twice the money, and said, whoa, I never did this
with an arab before. So I bought a foxtrotter mare who was 9 month pregnant.
She provided me with a lovely filly, and when the mare was 6 I started
riding her, actually started her under saddle. Her name is Robin, Zane's Red
About 4 years ago, I had three very serious surgeries. When I began to
recover, dying as I was to ride, the first horse I selected to throw a leg
over was my Robbie girl. Now, Robin isn't fast but she is sure-footed, and
unbelievably smooth, but even more important, she's really intelligent, and
really willing and fun to ride.
I am 49 this year. Is it age that makes me appreciate these horses'
willingness, gait, and attitude/intelligence? I don't think I'm old; what I
am is more particular about the amount of time I'm willing to spend to start
a horse and make it become a dependable mount. I'm not talking about
condition, because I would agree with Truman and Bruce that these horses do
require more time to become as fit as an arab, and they don't have the
willingness to kill themselves to beat out another horse (in my experience.)
In addition, I am using foxtrotters for beginning riding students, and large,
or otherwise less than perfect (grin) riders. They work pretty well for
As far as endurance potential is concerned, I began limited distance in the
early 80's riding behind a guy who was doing 50's on a foxtrotter, Pinky
Forrester. I don't know how many of you remember him. He didn't win many,
if any rides, although he came close a time or two. Mostly, he finished a 50
in 7 or 8 hours. But he had a blast, and over the four or five years he was
really active in the sport, he put about 3500 competition miles on Un Pie
Blanco, his big grey gelding, who, incidentally, used the rack for his speed
I am currently conditioning a four year old stallion for endurance. He will
be doing 25's this new year, possibly 50's as a 6 year old. We'll see. The
foxtrotters I've done limited distance on have been middle of the pack
finishers. Could they have been winners? Only at the gallop. The gait most
used? Some form of trot, sometimes foxtrot, sometimes hard trot, but they
finished sound and with great recoveries. No problems going up or downhill,
in fact, on most downhills they are faster than the arabs.
I hesitated to delurk, I can't offer any long term advice about how a
foxtrotter will hold up for endurance, but based on my experience training
them and using them for riding lessons and pleasure rides, they'll be
sensible, camp well, and give you a great ride.
Ribbon Ridge Farm
Breeders of Missouri Fox Trotters for Long Distance