The Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse: A Rule Follower
(To see a picture of this horse, go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kentucky_Mountain_Saddle_Horse)
“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”
The Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse is a breed from ___? You guessed it, the state of Kentucky. This fabulous horse probably has his roots in smooth-gaited horses from the southeastern United States and the now-extinct Narragansett Pacer. He’s related to the Tennessee Walking Horse and other gaited breeds, but, unfortunately, the exact details of his beginnings are unknown.
The Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse has a similar history to the Rocky Mountain Horse. These two breeds are sometimes called “Mountain Pleasure Horses.” Plantation owners looking for a powerful work horse developed the Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse, which could also offer a comfortable, safe ride to the family members. Breeding eventually produced this equine’s gentle temperament. He became the perfect mount not only for long travel over rough terrain but also for frequent family use. Even today, the breed has the reputation of being an excellent riding horse as well as a reliable mount for rugged trail riding.
This amazing horse rides “rocking chair smooth” for one reason. He has a natural ambling gait, which is completely different from the trot of most other breeds. The rider experiences smoothness because the horse always has at least one foot on the ground when he’s “ambling.”
Interest in the breed increased throughout the 20th Century, and in 1989, the Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse Association (KMSHA) started. Because of the popularity of the breed with excessive white markings and pinto colors, in 2002 an additional Spotted Mountain Horse Association (SMHA) started to register Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horses with a lot of white. Thus, there are two different registries today: one for “solid” horses and one for pintos.
Because the history and lineage of the Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse is not known, the two associations did extensive studies and formed detailed guidelines that any horse must follow to be registered as a Saddle Horse. Space doesn’t allow for the listing of pages of all the rules and regulations, but let’s take a look at a few:
- A Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse must stand above 11 hands to be registered. Taller horses are divided into two categories: Class A horses stand taller than 14.2 hands while Class B horses stand at 11 to 14.1 hands.
- A horse registered with the Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse Association can be all solid colors with white markings allowed on the face, legs, and small patches on the belly no larger than the size of the palm of a hand.
- A horse with excessive white, including a full white face, white above the knees or hocks, or any pinto markings must register with the Spotted Mountain Horse Association.
- The horse must have a flat facial profile, a mid-length, well-arched neck, a deep chest and well-sloped shoulders.
- The horse must display a gentle temperament and willing disposition. Any horse that is unruly or unmanageable will not be accepted for certification.
- The horse must have a smooth, comfortable, and natural four beat under saddle.
- The horse may be barefoot or have shoes on all four hooves.
The Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse certainly has to follow a ton of rules to be a member of his exclusive club!
How would you like to be a member of a family or a club with so many rules? What if you had to have purple hair or weigh two hundred pounds to be a member of your family? What if you had to get all A’s in every test you take in school to pass to the next grade?
You probably think those rules just mentioned are ridiculous. But God has given us many good rules in the Bible, which help us live a successful and happy life. Some of those rules are the Ten Commandments, which are a guide for us to follow.
However, some people believe that by following the Ten Commandments they can work their way to heaven. Sadly, they also believe they have to follow a long list of other rules to win God’s favor, and then He’ll let them into Heaven. But that’s not what the Bible says. Once we’ve accepted Jesus as our Savior, heaven is promised to us. All the rules God has given us are to be used as a guide to help us live the Christian life.
Remember, there are good rules your parents and teachers have set to help you grow into a responsible, happy adult. And there are good rules God has given you to help you grow into a responsible, happy Christian. Always thank Jesus that He made the way to heaven with his sacrifice on the cross, and you don’t have to try to keep a lot of rules to get there.
PRAYER: Dear God, help me obey the rules You and others in my life have set for me. I know they’re for my good. In Jesus’ name, amen.
SADDLE UP! (What would God have you do now?)
What are some rules your parents or teachers have that you think are for your good? Determine to obey them the best you can.
Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?) The Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse is the member of an exclusive club of more than thirty horse breeds that are “gaited,” able to perform a four-beat ambling gait.
Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?) “I have longed for thy salvation, O Lord; and thy law is my delight” (Psalm 119:174).
Do you love to read books about kids and horses?
Check out Book One in the Keystone Stables Series:
A HORSE TO LOVE