What do you look for when you are buying a Missouri Fox Trotter for trail riding? Some people buy a horse for color, some for size, some for bloodlines, and some for gait. While all of these are good reasons for purchasing a Missouri Fox Trotting Trail Horse, for myself experiences on the trail far out weigh any of these. When I’m out on the trail, I like a horse that is as calm and enjoys the peacefulness of being in the woods. I want a horse that wants to go at the pace I want it to go. I also want a horse that is willing to lead the pack, follow the pack, or be somewhere in between. I want a horse that is responding to my wants, not what it wants.
No matter what discipline I’m preparing a horse for and working with it at the barn, I try and always work on the things I feel like are important for it to have if I were to take it out on the trail. Right now I’m preparing a horse for the MFTHBA Spring Show and Futurity. Preparing a show horse requires you to have contact with it’s mouth, but I am riding him for a time with contact, then releasing the reins where their isn’t contact any more. This is when I want him to drop his head and slow down his gait to what we refer to as a dog walk. This actually has a two part advantage. Even when horses are performing, they need a cue of when to shut their performing down and relax. I want my horse to not only appear calm, but BE CALM. All of this takes time and training and working with your horse. Horses are such a smart animal and soon they will figure out what you’re asking of them.
Living in Southwest Missouri, we have a wide range of terrains to ride. I have ridden on trails that were fairly flat and not too rocky, all the way up to riding rocky cliffs and water is always a must. Yes, I love to cross water, and i love taking a new horse out and seeing if it will drink out of the creek or river. Some horses have to adjust to it and realize it’s ok to get a drink with a bit in their mouth. The Missouri Fox Trotter makes the perfect horse out on the trails. This breed of horse was born out of the rocky terrain of the Ozark Mountains and they have a sure footed gait which makes them less likely to stumble when traveling.
Depending on the terrain i am riding in, will depend on the tack I choose to use. Bryan Biggs of Veach Made Leather Works likes to always use a breast collar to keep the saddle from sliding back when going up a steep hill. Another must if riding steep hills is a back cinch. Biggs says you have to be careful when using these so they aren’t too tight, or too loose potentially causing negative consequences. Both items help make the ride easier for the rider and the horse. Byan does beautiful custom leather work for people, check out his Facebook page here
A Missouri Fox Trotting Horse is a great breed to trail ride. They have an easy going, smooth gait and can cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time. Mike and Joy Meizler of Rafter M Training Stables in Thayer MO are providing quality and experienced trail horses with that easy to ride gait we call the Fox Trot. If you follow their Facebook Page, Foxtrotter Trail Horse, or check out their website here you will see they spend a lot of time desensitizing and working on horsemanship skills with the horses before they take them out for rides. Mike says they want a horse to be able to disengage their front quarter yields and their hind quarter yields to help get a one rein stop. Mike says they do lots of flexing and softening exercises to make the horses soft in the mouth.
Foxtrot Urbane members Mike and Joy Meizler have been breaking and training trail horses so that others can experience all the great qualities and characteristics the Missouri Fox Trotter has to offer. Mike stresses that they want their buyer to really experience the horse before they decide to buy it. They take their customers out for 2 to 3 days riding the trails on the horse so the customers get used to the horse and really get to see if the horse is the right fit for them. Mike and Joy use the App called May My Tracks for all their horses they are putting trail miles on which is an added bonus to the buyer. We document all the miles on the horses we sale so potential buyers can look at the maps of trail miles the horse has. Mike says this is one way to verify the horse has actually been on trails. Many of our Foxtrot Urbane members trail ride and they can also verify their miles on their horses on the Foxtrot Urbane website. This documentation ensures a potential buyer they are truly getting what they are looking for.
No matter what discipline you are doing with your Missouri Fox Trotter, Foxtrot Urbane provides a platform for you to document it’s accomplishments and achievements. We would love to have you! Become a member and enroll your horse today, just click here
We want to hear from you. What qualities do you want your trail horse to have? Leave your comments below.
See you on the trails!
-Lisa Cantrell, Foxtrot Urbane-