The Missouri Fox Trotter: Dependable
(To see a picture of this horse, go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missouri_Fox_Trotter )
“Thy word is true from the beginning.”
When farmers, plantation owners, and ranchers started settling our newly formed United States, they looked for a hardy, muscular horse that could do ranch work yet take the family members on a dependable trail ride. So in the early 1800s, the settlers of the Ozarks in Missouri developed a sure-footed horse that could perform work including working cattle, plowing fields, and hauling logs. But that same horse had to serve as the family’s fancy buggy and riding horse in the evening’s activities.
The Missouri Fox Trotter, developed from horses from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia, filled that need to the “T.” Crossbreeding with Arabians, Tennessee Walking Horses, Morgans, American Saddlebreds, and Standardbreds made the Trotter smoother and stronger. This versatile equine, able to travel great distances at a comfortable five- to-eight miles an hour, made the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse a favorite of the country doctor, sheriff, traveling preacher, and rancher. In just a short time, the gaited Trotter gained notoriety for his stamina and smooth gaits.
In 1948, Trotter enthusiasts founded the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed Association (MFTHBA) in Ava, Missouri with an open stud book that registered all horses with the fox trot gait and other specified physical characteristics describing the horse. Interest around the world grew, and the first Fox Trotters were exported to Europe in the 1950s when the Queen of England imported several palomino Trotters. The breed’s popularity increased to the point that Missouri Fox Trotters are now seen throughout the United States, as well as in Canada and several European countries. As of 2012 the MFTHBA had registered over 97,000 horses with over 8,000 members. It’s no surprise that the state of Missouri thinks highly of this unique equine. He’s so special that in 2002, the state honored the Missouri Fox Trotter by naming him the official state horse of Missouri.
Missouri Fox Trotters come in all colors, including spotted and buckskin. You’ll often see them with white facial and leg markings. They’re muscular and have sloped shoulders, a short back, and sturdy legs. They stand at 14 to 16 hands and weigh between 900 and 1,200 pounds.
Today the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse is known as everyone’s pleasure horse because of his gentle disposition and dependable, comfortable ride. He’s most known today for his ambling gait, the “fox trot,” a four-beat smooth gait in which the front foot of the diagonal pair lands before the hind pair. He’s in demand for use in all kinds of show classes including pleasure, trail riding, endurance, and cross country. Because of his surefootedness and endurance in rough countryside, he’s used by hunters and National Forestry Service rangers. You can often spot him in movies because of his gentle nature and willingness to work. Handicapped riding programs also use him because his smooth gait has proven to be beneficial for riders with minor physical disabilities. Wow! Would you agree “dependable” describes the Missouri Fox Trotter better than any other word?
Are you “dependable” like the Missouri Fox Trotter? If you’re dependable, you can be trusted to complete tasks you’re asked to do. Would your parent or teacher say you are dependable, or do you forget to do jobs you’re asked to do? A Christian should be dependable because the God we love and serve is dependable.
The Bible tells us that we can depend on Jesus to be our Savior. He shed His blood and died on the cross to save anyone who believes in Him. The Bible is also dependable. Every word of it is true, which tells us about our wonderful God and the home in heaven we’ll have one day. We have a God on whom we can depend.
PRAYER: Dear God, thank you for being the God I can depend on. I also thank you for the Bible that tells me that believing in Jesus as my Savior makes me ready for heaven. In Jesus’ name, amen.
SADDLE UP! (What would God have you do now?)
Think of some responsibilities your parent or teacher might want you to do. Then decide to be dependable and finish the tasks on time.
Take your ride: (Do you know?) Fox Trotters were the first horses to carry riders down the north rim of the Grand Canyon.
Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?) “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5 NKJV).
DO YOU WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT DIFFERENT HORSE BREEDS?
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