Kentucky Mountain Horse (KMH)
These saddle horses were originally bred by the mountain people of the hills and valleys of eastern Kentucky for the demanding needs of farm life. It was an obscure breed until it became noticed in the late 1980s. Since then, these horse have become highly sought after as pleasure horses in Kentucky and the rest of the world. They are highly prized for their easy-going temperament, intelligence, versatility, willingness, and especially their smooth and natural 4-beat gait.
The Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse Association (KMSHA) was formed in 1989 by Robert Robinson, Jr. (a native of Irvine, Kentucky) to document, preserve, and promote the Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse. In 2002, the Spotted Mountain Horse Association (SMHA) was formed as a subsidiary of the KMSHA to register spotted mountain horses.
The most distinguishing characteristic of the Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse is the natural four gait beat called an amble, or rack. This is a very smooth gentle gait that can be maintained over rough terrain and has the same footfall pattern as a walk. As a result the rider sits almost motionless while the horse carries him at speeds as fast as most horses canter. Having been developed in hilly regions where pasture was sparse, these horses are hardy and stoic with a calm, kind demeanor.
Having trained many of these horses, they can either do a running walk, rack and a fox trot. Some can do all 3. They usually do not have alot of over reach and therefore they have a shorter stride and are usually very surefooted.
From the different breeds I have worked with over the years, I have found this breed to be the calmest. They have been willing, sweet, nice gaits, very trainable and a great horse for first time owners. They have also been pretty easy to teach to canter, since many of them will trot, when they are loose.