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Rocky Mountain Horses

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  • Rocky Mountain Horses

    I am looking for a new trail partner having had to retire my trail buddy of many years due to navicular ...... he also has advanced moon blindness but that has never been an issue. Anyway, I keep coming across ads for RMH s and although I have never been interested in the least in a gaited horse I find myself really liking the look of this breed. So..... why would one buy a RMH, except for trail riding? They do not seem to be a very versatile horse or am I mistaken. RMH lovers please educate me on this breed.

  • #2
    We've had two rockies at our farm. They have the temperment of a big lap dog. Sweet and quiet. Very steady mounts... hardy... easy going. And the gait... oh so smooth! You'll never bouce again!
    The Galloping Grape
    Warrenton, VA


    • #3
      I love the "Rockys"
      Ride occasionally with some folks who ride rockys, and believe me, my lil Arab who LOVES to trot all day, has to go into her Loooong trot to keep up at their gait!!
      These folks Mooove out!!
      Not very large horses, but lots of smooooth power and a nice easy temper too. Great to camp with too!


      • #4
        my best night pony at the track was a rocky mountain spotted saddlehorse............. his canter was awesome, smooth, steady, as was he in temperment. Sweet, kind, consistant...... plus a hard-worker. Strong horse in many ways, and always tolerant of silly tb's all over him.
        he worked 2 yrs, every night....... in all the elements and then retired to trail rides and lessons for beginners before finding his own family ---- who love him dearly.
        he stood a honest 15h, but was as wide as a house, took all my leg and always felt like I was riding a big horse! plus...... soundness was Never an issue, this guy was made of rock! easy keeper, tolerated weather well, and totally social with all other horses and riders.
        OTTB's ready to show/event/jumpers. Track ponies for perfect trail partners.


        • #5
          I think they are non spotted, spotted saddle horses.
          Should have great temperament, stoutish, not too tall, and ideally possess a solid 4 beat saddle lick gait and a canter.

          Watch out for issues w/ inbreeding that results in a predisposition for moonblindness in the chocolate colored ones and perhaps DSLD, I'm not sure on the latter...

          Not versatile? Well, what do you want them to do? They shouldn't trot, so 'true' dressage is out, usually trail ridden so real jumping is not something you'd typically train a lateral going, non trotting breed for...beyond that -exactly what is it you WANT them to do? I don't see TBs in the cutting pen but that doesn't mean TBs aren't versatile...


          • #6
            I compete in many obstacles challenges and for many years too. For 2 years running an older couple won at this particular venue on their RM...the first year they had only been riding for a short time!! and won!!
            "My treasures do not sparkle or glitter, they shine in the sunlight and nicker to me in the night"


            • #7
              Well I have 2 horses, one being a Rocky. Shes an in your pocket type on the ground, but pretty sprightly under saddle... She would do anything youd ask under saddle, except trot... Very easy keepers,very affiliative and usually affectionate and interested in the humans activities. That said, because they are so sweet and easy going,"puppy-doggish" if you will... Ive seen a few on the fat and la-zy side, and spoiled! Questions about breeders or such like that PM me and Ill try to hook you up! Theres a good list on yahoo groups for info too. If you trail ride alot, you will end up finding other gaited horse riders to go out with because even though my mare is short (14.2) the big horses cant keep up with her!


              • Original Poster

                I always thought that RMH were chocolate brown with lighter coloured manes but after looking at a number of web sites they seem to come in all colours. I am up in Canada (ontario) so breeders will be relatively harder to come by I think but I will try to find a couple in the area to visit to see if they have anything suitable.


                • #9
                  I wanted nothing to do with ANY gaited horse until I rode a Rocky. I was hooked and will hopefully get to own one before I die. Sooo smooth and very levelheaded. Unfortunately, They can be a little pricey, which is why I don't have one yet. I did jump at the chance to get a TW pony for free, and am having a great time trail riding her. Good Luck and keep us up with what you find.
                  Just cause you move to Texas, doesn't mean you are a Texan. After all, if a cat puts her kittens in the oven, It doesn't make them Bisquits.


                  • #10
                    I Heart the Rockies! Also, an ASD psa.

                    Though, as mentioned by previous posters, they are not really for jumping or even dressage (though dressage en gait is growing!)..they are fantastic horses! I helped put trail miles on my friend's Rocky and also got to ride a few others and they are all sweet, willing and sensible. Phenomenal for trail riding in all terrain. As sisely said, they sure can book. When I rode a TWH w the Rocky people, we had to canter to keep up! So if you want 100% fun in the saddle and on the ground..Rockies are great! They can be seen holding their own against the Arabians in endurance as well.
                    Unfortunately, the lovely chocolate palomino or drk coat w flaxen mane and tail also colored horses are at high risk for having genetic predisposition for ASD (anterior segment dysgensis) an eye problem. Many times the vision is okay, but still. Also, they can be carriers and no have it (sort of like hypp? ). Most breeders of Rockies are vary knowledgeable and will have proof of horses ASD status. Maybe someone else can explain the implications better.
                    However, they come in many lovely colors and many of the chocolate horses are are not positive for ASD.
                    Good Luck and Enjoy!!


                    • #11
                      They sound like a fascinating breed. Any soundness issues? Can they be expected to go the longer distances? Are they more for pleasure trail riding or can they be considered as an alternative to an arab in competitive endurance?


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Ozalynda View Post
                        They sound like a fascinating breed. Any soundness issues? Can they be expected to go the longer distances? Are they more for pleasure trail riding or can they be considered as an alternative to an arab in competitive endurance?
                        A friend of mine competes on an Arab/Rocky cross and does well. But I suppose that does not really answer your question, does it? Sorry!


                        • #13
                          A few years ago, I developed some health problems that made riding straight gaited horses very painful. I was looking at Pasos when my vet suggested I purchase a Rocky. Once I learned a little about the breed, I was hooked. However, I wasn't going to pay $6,500 for a trail horse. We found a 3yo across the country and purchased her sight-unseen. She was unbroken, but you would have never known it. We tacked her up and started riding after maybe a week or so of ground work. She was a saint and the smoothest horse I've ever sat on. She was small (about 14.2H) and we did end up selling her once I was able to ride straight-gaited horses again. I do the Hunters and she did not fit that bill at all. However, she was an ideal trail horse that I would have put anyone on and taken them about anywhere. She was sure-footed, sound, and not spooky at all. The PERFECT trail horse!!


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Ozalynda View Post
                            They sound like a fascinating breed. Any soundness issues? Can they be expected to go the longer distances? Are they more for pleasure trail riding or can they be considered as an alternative to an arab in competitive endurance?

                            Guys, they are just a fancy colored gaited horse. They have a smooth power walk that will not, mile for mile, compete with a big airy Arabian endurance horse trot.

                            Soundness issues, no. They just aren't magikal


                            • #15
                              Well said Katarine.

                              I enjoy gaited horses. But I have lost interest in endurance since I switched to a gaited horse. My Foxtrotters can finish the endurance race, But they are not fast enough to place if you are a competitive person. ( and I personally don't see any reason to spend $70-$80 to enter a race if I'm not going to try to be competitive) I do see the gaited breeds (including Rockies) doing very well at NATRC Competitive Trail Rides.

                              Rockies are known for being very calm, easy to train and having a smooth gait. They are usually a little more laterial than the foxtrotters. They are not usually as big as TWH or MFT horses. But are usually a little stockier than the Paso breeds. But I've not been around 100s of them, so maybe my exposure is baised.

                              And any gaited horse can walk slower so your friends can keep up. It's just not as much fun to dog walk. Kinda like buying a Corvette and only driving it in School Zones at 20mph.

                              I once was invited at the last minute to join some folks for a trail ride. I complained about being invited late. One of the group confided, they were not going to invite me because my horse always walked too fast and those on quarter horses ended up hard trotting to keep up. I made sure for that entire ride that we stayed at the back of the group, to prove my horse was well mannered and could walk slow. They can do it. You just have to ask.


                              • #16
                                Rocky Mt horses are NOT/NEVER prone to DSLD.

                                They can if they have two silver dapple genes be prone to ASD. Choco horses eyes can be tested by a certified eye doctor, and yes they are out there. Horses who are bay or black do not have a silver dapple gene, therefore do not have ASD, and they can not pass it on. Thus, my horse is black. I like choco, but I like a clear eyed horse the best.

                                You can do anything with a gaited horse you can do with a non-gaited horse.

                                There are breed specifics, which you can check out on their website. I am a member so if you want any pedigree lookups, let me know. Or other info.

                                Most are stout. Mine is 15.1HH. I never had a gaited horse, much less ridden one at length. She is my first. I have found the Rocky has an Arab pay attention on the trail, but a QH reaction, they do not as a rule spook. They have a sweet, kind, smart, and of a very gentle temp. I have found the breed is a total natural on the trails. They are super easy keepers. My filly is a tough gal. She is no whimp with regards to terrain. Some have some spice to them, but not all. Some lines have some hottness/spice as all breeds do. So be informed on your lines, and on the silver dapple gene.

                                I looked very carefully at several ads/breeders. In every breed, there are good ones and bad ones. The lady I got my filly from is really into the breed, takes great care of all her horses, I liked that alot.

                                Rocky's need no special shoeing to gait.

                                Rocky's have to have a solid body, and there are restrictions on how much white they allow on the face and legs. Check their website for more info. If a purebred Rocky is born with too much white it is easy to register in the spotted mt horse. My filly has two hind white socks, and she is black.

                                My filly has a nice slow gait. She can go faster, but she is young and I don't want her to always go that slow. I bought her as a 1.5 year old, and I broke, trained, and breed certified her my self. She is now 3.5 yrs old.

                                In every breed: you get what you pay for.

                                Be smart, and informed and you will get a great horse.


                                • #17
                                  I think most of the KY saddle horse breeds, the TWH's, racking horses etc have similar, lap-horse personality traits. Most are related if you go back far enough. Ithink that most can and will trot but are discouraged from doing so under saddle. If you can push the right buttons you could certainly do about anything with the saddle breeds that you can with other breeds, but, no, they are not going to win endurance like Arabs, cut cows like QH's, steeplechase like TBs and so on.

                                  The silver/chocolate Rockies are pretty and merely the latest craze, so some breeders saw how many they could produce and reinforced some negative genes, just as has happened with Pasos, QHs, and I'm sure other breeds. Not to mention purebred dogs-- whenever an individual wins Westminster or is featured in a cute TV commercial you start getting a rash of over-breeding. Responsible breeders deal with these issues responsibly.

                                  FWIW, you can get a lovely, well trained non-registered or registered gaited horse for a lot less than multiple K's. I am thinking of my old farrier in OH who would go down to KY and come back with a trailer full of fabulous, well gaited horses and re-sell them for a thousand bucks. Somehow all of them were always broke to death while also clearly never having been shod, clipped, or kept in a barn. They always had manes to their knees and tails full of snarls and burrs but by God they were some fine horses. This was all of maybe 15 years ago and I suspect the hills and hollers are still full of nice animals....

                                  When I was a kid growing up in WV, it seemed that almost every horse and pony out in the country, including draft ponies, had the ability to ride or drive and were to some degree gaited, and a lot of them were liver chestnuts with flaxen manes and tails...it must be some kind of hillbilly thang.


                                  • #18
                                    Thanks for the correction on the DSLD. Nagging in my mind is some leg related issue in some Rocky's, but apparently it's not DSLD.

                                    Jeano, you are right on the color. I ran into a group of gals at East Fork on some PRETTY pretty pretty Rocky's, all chocolate with the silvery manes. That is a striking color.

                                    but yes, color aside, all these 'breeds' are variations on a theme: four beat gaiting. Look at all the designer labels, though!
                                    McCurdy (just line bred TWH horses off a farm in Selma, and one can get McCurdy papers on anythiing if it fits type and shows good gait...lots of recessive colors and not much if any white- look, it's a McCurdy!).

                                    Rocky Mtn- stout and fancy colored- Rocky!
                                    Spotted Mtn: Rocky with bleach
                                    KY Mountain -stout or slim and common to fancy colored= Ky Mountain!
                                    Singlefooter- ok they do need to singlefoot, an amped up rack flying down the side of the dirt road-
                                    SSH- colored TWH
                                    etc etc etc

                                    They all share a propensity for the 4 beat ambly saddle gait, just pick the registering body that most suits you, or skip that entirely and buy a grade that's gaited to the hilt,and save some dough


                                    • #19
                                      I am and always probably will be an Arabian lover. That said, If I do get a Rocky, it would be my trail and all around horse. They have always been an in your pocket horse, ready and willing to ride all day, perhaps not at 7mph like a lot of competitive Arabs, but to win is to finish too!
                                      At 63, I won't be doing the Tevis, but will do the local and regional rides.
                                      My Lil Arabian mare can be competitive and has a loooong trot to die for. It is ME who has the limitations. Sooo I can see a Rocky in my future for my recreational rides.



                                      • #20
                                        This summer I stayed overnight and trail rode at a ranch that had Rockies and TWHs. One night, they were having a local gaming show in their arena with most of the competitors on gaited horses. It was pretty cool watching them do pole bending, flag races, and the like. That's really been my only experience with them.
                                        The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
                                        Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.