Kentucky Mtn. Horses

I met someone recently riding a gorgeous, quiet! RMH. This horse was 4 beat ‘trotting smooth’ but cantered as well. If you have a naturally strong gaited horse, is that the only gait some can do (except the walk, faster pace). I like to canter, and am not sure if I’m ready to sit still in the saddle?? Any advice welcome!! Thx!

My RMH has 0 trot even in the pasture but a lovely canter. He has a better transition from the walk to canter than from one of his lateral gaits. It took a little training but only because his previous owners discouraged the canter.

My five gaited saddlebred x RMH has all the gaits but I do discourage trotting under saddle.

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My RMH occasionally trots under saddle, mostly on steep up hills. I don’t discourage it because on an endurance ride using different muscles sets can be a good thing. I will say it’s about the most awful trot in the world though. Her canter is fantastic. I would not in any way, shape or form buy a gaited horse if I wanted to trot though

Thanks for the info; both horses sound nice. I was really impressed by the calm and sensible temperament or the 5 yr. old I saw! Any breed has it’s stars and it’s more difficult cases, but comparing the KMH I saw with some! Arabs and some! TB’s…well, let’s just say when I a little less mobile-ish (eeeee), I would love to have a RMH (if my family hasn’t put me in a straitjacket and sold my tack haha!!).

My RMH trots occasionally on the lunge and in the pasture, but has never offered it under saddle (and I’ve never gone looking for it).

But I will say he’s the sanest and sturdiest horse I’ve ever owned. Everything comes so easily to him (especially compared to my rather flighty OTTB).

Agreed about the good brain on these horses. Even my 1/2 saddlebred is so sensible even as a young horse. He is def more up than my full RMH but his RMH brain always kicks in after a second.

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Funny reading all these gaiting replies, because my RMH does not gait. Well, To be more clear, she has gaited with me only for short distances and only very rarely. Someone more skilled than I might’ve been able to bring that out in her more.

She is a cool little round mare, though, as sound and hardy as can be, and pretty too. Never very forgiving of pilot error, but will stand all day to be brushed, pet or loved in by non horsey children who visit.

She’s somewhere in her 30s now and I no longer ask her to ride, but she’s good with leadline walks with these kids.


I have a Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse whom I have owned from his age 2 to (now) 18 years of age. KMSH is a registry rather than a breed, and they get registered based on temperament and gaiting ability, demonstrated via videos submitted to the registry committee. This thread is also discussing Rockies, which are an actual breed AFAIK.

Gaited horses like these can typically walk at any speed - their way of going is a 4-beat walk that accelerates indefinitely, They can also canter and gallop full out. A good gaited horse can accommodate any sort of move. My guy can gait slowly, quickly, or canter or gallop full out.

KMSH horses are known for their agility on difficult terrain, like goats. My horse can negotiate any kind of weird trail challenge, and enjoys the trails that demand picking his way steeply up or down, or across rocky rivers etc. But his temperament is what I love most about him. Just: Let me do my job, and give me my hay. Calm and steady.

In my opinion, based on my small evidence base, anyone can ride a good gaited horse at any gait, any speed, and have a great trail experience.