Breeders and owners of the Rocky Mountain Horse are proud of their horses and also take pride in their slogan “One horse for all occasions”. They litterally use their horses for many different things – anything from endurance riding to driving a cart. It is to the advantage of the breed that it has an excellent stamina and good leg quality. Together with a unique and people-friendly temperament, it makes it a very versatile breed making all the different activities possible from back of this horse or in a cart behind it. Here follows a small overview of the uses of the Rocky Mountain Horse. At the bottom of the page is a small gallery with pictures of the Rocky in action.

Most people are prone to think that this breed first and foremost a “trail horse” breed. The soft lateral four-beat-gait, tølt, is perfectly suited for longer trail rides in comfortable speed and with a good comfort in the saddle. At the same time these horse a very surefooted and they are know to be of the kind that doesn’t easily spook. Because of this this horse is a good trail buddy, and will take care its rider no matter the riders age or level of skill.

The great stamina and soft gait makes this breed a popular choice for endurance riding. The ambling gait, tølt, also means the horse cover a great distance over a relativlely short period of this in an energy efficient manner, while at the same time being a pleasant ride. A lot of the horses choose the tølt gait over the trot as it is a natural way for them to move. More and more Rocky Mountain Horses are seen in endurance competitions and generally they do quite well.

Dressage and jumping
The Rocky Mountain Horse do fairly well in the lower classes in both dressage and jumping. In these competitions it is very individual how well the horses perform – with some horses being more talented than other as with any other horse breed – and some do a really good job.

This is a relatively new and exciting form of competition that is on its way up in popularity and becoming more widespread. The Rocky Mountain Horse are excellently suited for TREC and they fit each other like hand in glove. There are elements of endurance mixed with orienteering, jumping, dressage and different kinds of obstacles. Click on these links to find out more about the rules of TREC and how it is ridden:

ACTHA (American Competitive Trail Horse Association)
This type of competition has strong ties to the TREC discipline and has elements of endurance and obstacles as well. There are two subdivisions: The CTC (Competitive Trail Challenge) containing endurance riding with a roughly 6 miles distance and 6-8 obstacles, that are completed and judges by up to six judges (one at each obstacle), and then there’s the AOC (ACTHA Obstacle Challenge), that are held in an arena or in a field. The AOC may contain 8 and up to 16 obstacles, that offers the rider the opportunity to demonstrate their rider and horsemanship skills. The associationen has different classes on for competition like Junior classes and Open classes and so on. The Rocky usually does very well in this type of competition. Read more about the ACTHA on this link.

The Rocky Mountain hesten has a past as a work horse in the rural districts of Kentucky and both then and now the horse are also used to drive a cart. Due to the good temperament and physique the horse makes an excellent and handsome driving horse in front of the cart.

The horse breed has also been used in the more traditional sense in USA. The Rocky Mountain Horse do well in several different western competitions and has been used a lot in the past as a stock horse on the small ranches in USA, when the cattle needed to be moved. Today it is still some places for cattle work.

In the USA there are gaiting competitions just for Rocky Mountain Horses and sometimes also in the company of other gaited breeds like Kentucky Mountain Horse and others. It is a whole culture apart like it is seen here in Denmark with the gaiting competitions for Icelandic Horses. An elegant and fluent gait without extensive leg movement is desirable and can not in any way be compared with the grotesque gaiting competitions of the Tennessee Walking Horse.

This is not the kind with dogs and foxes, but with real guns. Some people use the Rocky Mountain Horse as a means of transportation for them selves and and their kills in the great forested areas of the States. A horse must necessarily be trained to the sound of gunshots without being spooked, but with the good temperament of the Rocky to begin with it is not a bad start.

Therapy riding
The Rocky Mountain Horse is of such a caliber, that it also does an excellent job carrying riders with special needs. This makes the horse a popular horse some places in USA for use in handicap- and therapeutical riding, where its calm temperament and surefooted gait makes it an ideal and natural first choice.

Family Horse
The Rocky Mountain Horse is first and foremost a friendly and sociable horse.Its good temperament makes it well suited for any member of the family to ride. It is off course just a horse as horses is, but it is still something special for the people that choose to own a Rocky Mountain Horse. When asked in a larger enquiry among Rocky Mountain Horse owners in USA why they chose the breed, most said they it was because of the horses great temperament. Secondmostly was the breeds ability to walk the ambling four-beat gait and third was its versatility. So if you are looking for a sensible, versatile horse with pleasant gaits the Rocky Mountain Horse is maybe one of best options, when you are looking for a horse with all these qualities!

Last update: 15th July 2013

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