More than 150 years ago, the special need for a sure-footed, smooth traveling horse was recognized by the settlers and pioneers in the Ozark Mountains in the Midwest of the United States. These pioneers came from the eastern states of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia and they brought with them their best horses. These were mainly Arabian horses, Morgans, American Saddlebred, Tennessee Walking Horses and other working horses. Out of a combination of these breeds, the Missouri Fox Trotter was born.
The ability to travel long distances comfortabley, at a speed of 5 to 8 mph, made the Missouri Fox Trotter a favorite for rural doctors, sheriffs and ranchers. The Missouri Fox Trotters were all around horses that did their job for the farmer or rancher during the week and then were used to drive the family to town on Sundays.
Because of their comfortable gaits, the Fox Trotter eventually got the nickname “Cowboy’s Cadillac“. Today, the breed is oriented toward a modern pleasure horse with the ability for performing in the show arena or on the trail as well as performing the hard demanding work of a ranch horse. This breed is especially popular among U.S. Forestry Rangers and Ranchers in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and Arizona.
History of the Missouri Fox Trotter in Europe
In 1992, the Missouri Fox Trotter was presented at the „Hippologica“ in Berlin for the first time in Europe and in March 1993 at the „Equitana“ in Essen. Also, in the mid-50s, twelve Palomino Fox Trotters are said to have been imported to England by the Queen. Since Equitana, the number of Missouri Fox Trotter horses has been increasing in Europe, especially in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. There are also a few Missouri Fox Trotter horses in the Czech Republic, France, Spain, Italy, Denmark and Norway. Although the Missouri Fox Trotter is becoming more and more popular with recreational riders, it is still not a well-known breed, with only about 600 horses in Europe.
In 2004, the DMFTA e.V. became the EMFTHA e.V. (European Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Association e.V.). Breeders and owners from Germany, Austria, France, the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Spain have joined forces in the EMFTHA.
The European Championship, which takes place every two years, has been replaced by three High Point tournaments per year since 2008.
In December 2016, the EMFTHA was officially recognized as a breeders’ association and it leads the original stud of the Missouri Fox Trotter.