Missouri Fox Trotter

There’s a lot to love for the Missouri Fox Trotter horses.

This versatile breed is known for its smooth gaits and gentle disposition, making it a popular choice for trail riding and many other equine disciplines.

If you’re thinking about getting a Missouri Fox Trotter, here’s everything you need to know about this interesting breed!

Missouri Fox Trotter Breed Info

Here are some of the key things you need to know about the Missouri Fox Trotter:

Height (size) 14.0 – 16.0 hands high
Colors Broad range of colors and coat and patterns; white markings on legs and face are allowed
Country of Origin United States of America (Missouri)
Common Uses Trail riding, packing, forest rangers mount, ranch work, children’s mount

Missouri Fox Trotter Facts & Information (Breed Profile)

The Missouri Fox Trotter originated in the state of Missouri in the United States of America.

In the early 19th century, by crossing several stock horse types with gaited horses settlers in the Ozark Mountains in Missouri developed a breed of horse that would become prized for its stock horse abilities, stamina, and smooth gaits.

There was already a reputation for the Missouri horse’s distinctive gait in the Ozark Mountains by the time the state was officially recognized as a state in 1821.

The horses immediately gained popularity among locals (and especially cattlemen) due to their distinct, smooth stride, which made navigating the rough terrain of the Ozarks seem easy.

This breed was ideal for households that required a robust workhorse who could plow fields, haul logs, and work livestock while still looking beautiful while pulling their buggy to town.

Founded in 1948 in Ava, Missouri, the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed Association (MFTHBA) kept an open stud book for horses that demonstrated the fox trot gait and met other predetermined physical criteria for registration.

In the 1950s, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom brought several palomino-colored horses into the country, which is considered to be the first time that Fox Trotters were sent to Europe.

The stud book was closed in 1982, and from then on only horses from registered parents could be entered.

In 1996, the first European Championship Show was held, and in 2010, the EMFTHA and the Free University of Berlin started collaborating to establish a European stud book for the breed.

It is estimated that as of 2009, there were around 600 Missouri Fox Trotters in Europe, with about 350 of them located in Germany.

In 2002, the Missouri Fox Trotter was officially recognized as the state horse of Missouri.

There are Missouri Fox Trotters all across the United States, Canada, and a number of European countries.

As of 2012, the MFTHBA had registered over 97,000 horses and had more than 8,000 active members.

The Missouri Fox Trotting Horse World Show and Celebration takes place each year in Ava, Missouri, and is the biggest annual Fox Trotter show with over 1400 horses competing.

The directors of the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breeders’ Association saw the need for a separate registry for horses standing between 44 and 56 inches in height.

The Pony Registry was established in May of 2004 and is run by the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed Association.

The Missouri Fox Trotting Pony Registry offers two types of registration:

Tentative Registration – this group consists of horses up to five years old, and no inspection is required. Gait examination, on the other hand, may be done at any time between 2 and 5 years old.

However, height inspections can’t be done before age 5.

The horse must have one or both of its parents registered with the MFTHBA or the MFTPR in order to be considered for registration.

The horse’s tentative registration will expire six months after its 5th birthday.

Permanent Registration – in order for a horse to be eligible for permanent registration, it must pass a height examination that is conducted by a certified veterinarian and be at least 5 years old.

The horse’s height must be confirmed to be between 44 and 56 inches (111 – 142 cm, or 10.9 – 13.9 hands high).

If the horse has not already been registered and examined for gait under the tentative registration, it is required to be assessed for gait and must do a fox trot as part of the process.

The pony may be permanently registered after a successful examination.

If you’re interested in learning more about this fascinating breed, keep reading!

Alternative Names



Gentle, good-natured, friendly

Physical Characteristics

The head has a straight profile.

The chest is full, and the shoulders are powerful and sloped.

The back is short, and the body muscular.

The legs are sturdy.

They carry their heads and tails high which gives them an elegant look.

Missouri Fox Trotters have a sturdy build since they are descended from working stock horses.

In addition, they have a highly distinctive stride that allows them to navigate rough terrain while keeping their rider comfortable.

They can perform an ambling gait or a fox trot at speeds between a walk and a canter.

This four-beat broken diagonal gait eliminates the moment of suspension by having the front foot of the diagonal pair fall before the back.

As a result of the additional footfalls, the horse will always have one foot on the ground, which will result in a ride that is far smoother for the rider.

Due to their confidence, composure and smoothness of gaits, the Missouri Fox Trotter is an excellent horse for children, novice riders, and people with disabilities.


Broad range of colors and coat and patterns; white markings on legs and face are allowed

Height (size)

14.0 – 16.0 hands high






900 – 1,200 lbs (400 – 545 kg)

Blood Type


Common Uses

Trail riding, packing, forest rangers mount, ranch work, children’s mount


No common health problems

Popular Traits

Ambling gait, and great stamina



Country of Origin

United States of America (Missouri)


Arabian, Morgan, American Saddlebred, Tennessee Walking Horse, Standardbred