Missouri Fox Trotter

Lisa Selvaggio
by Lisa Selvaggio
fast facts

About Missouri Fox Trotter

900-1,200 lb
Medium-build, strong body
20-30 years
Best Suited For
All levels of riders and horse owners, including children and beginners
Calm, docile, placid, reliable, enjoys the company of people, good-natured, has a desire to please its owners, intelligent
Comparable Breeds
Tennessee Walking Horse, American Standardbred Horse
Top Breed
Missouri Fox Trotter Breed History

Over 100 years ago, the pioneers and settlers of the Ozark Mountains in the state of Arkansas in the United States were in need of a horse that would be able to perform a variety of work on a daily basis. These tasks included hauling logs and plowing fields, as a couple of examples. But the horses would also need to be appropriate for the working families who needed them for general riding as well. That’s how the Missouri Fox Trotter came into being.

As more people migrated to the western parts of the United States from places like Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky, they brought a variety of horses, including the Morgan and Arabian equine breeds, as well as the Tennessee Walking Horse, the Standardbred, and the American Saddlebred. The result of these horses being bred with one another was the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse, which was developed during the 1800s.

The Missouri Fox Trotter is known for its calm and gentle nature.

The Missouri Fox Trotter quickly became popular because it was versatile and had the stamina to travel over long distances. This unique horse also had a comfortable gait and a fearless attitude when it came to living and working on the difficult mountain terrain.

In the latter part of the 1940s, horse breeders created and established a group whose aim was maintaining a studbook for this new equine breed. This organization would later become known as the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breeder’s Association in 1958.

Today, the Missouri Fox Trotter is easily found throughout many parts of the United States, as well as Canada and some parts of Germany and Austria.

Breed Traits

The Missouri Fox Trotter is an equine breed that is able to work with horse owners and riders of all levels because it is known for its calm and gentle nature. This horse is docile and reliable, and it thoroughly enjoys being around people. For these reasons, it is an ideal choice for adults who are first learning to ride horses, as well as for those who are new at owning and caring for horses. The Missouri Fox Trotter is even a great option for children who want to start riding for the first time.

This horse breed is also popular because it is good-natured and intelligent. It is highly renowned for being peaceful and easygoing, and Missouri Fox Trotters are highly tolerant and adaptable to a variety of situations. And because of this breed’s comfortable ride, many people use these horses for pleasure riding and for exploring trails.

The Missouri Fox Trotter is docile and reliable, and it thoroughly enjoys being around people.

Overall Description

Missouri Fox Trotter horses feature a straight face profile and a muscular body with a short back. You will also notice that the neck is of medium length, and the head, which is held high, features bright eyes, pointed ears that are well shaped, and a tapered muzzle.

The withers are pronounced, the tail is set high, and the shoulders of the Missouri Fox Trotter are powerful and sloped at roughly a 45 to 50 degree angle. This horse’s legs are sturdy, tapered, and muscular, with properly shaped and well-proportioned hooves. Also, the flank of this horse breed is sleek, while the chest is full and deep, and the ribs are well sprung.

These horses are surefooted and have an unmistakable fox trot step, with a rhythmic gait that is smooth. They also have a walk and gallop that are enjoyable to the rider and to the observer. Overall, the Missouri Fox Trotter Horse is graceful, with poise and a relaxed disposition.

The Missouri Fox Trotter breed is also popular because it is good-natured and intelligent.


The Missouri Fox Trotter Horse comes in a wide range of lovely coat colors, including spotted. This makes it one of the horse breeds with the most diversified set of colors. There are also white markings on the legs and face.

Colors include chestnut, skewbald, piebald, grey, bay, brown, grullo, champagne, roan, cremello, perlino, palomino, buckskin, dun, and black.

Grooming Requirements

Like all other equine breeds, the Missouri Fox Trotter Horse requires consistent grooming to look its best. You can use a set of horse grooming tools that includes a body finishing brush, a curry comb, a dandy brush, a mane comb, a shedding blade, and a tail brush, to keep the coat clean and healthy from mane to tail. And you can also utilize a hoof pick that is designed to easily remove a variety of debris from your horse’s hooves, especially after riding for extended periods of time and over varied terrain on your favorite trails.

Photo credit: Kayla Oakes; Missouri Agriculture/Flickr; Kristen Dempsey/Flickr

Lisa Selvaggio
Lisa Selvaggio

Lisa Selvaggio is a freelance writer and editor, and our resident cats-pert, with certifications in pet nutrition and pet first aid. She enjoys producing content that helps people understand animals better so they can give their pets a safe and happy home.

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