Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse: Discover the Majestic Breed

Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse
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The Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse is a good option if you’re searching for a horse with these desirable traits: smoothness, gentleness, and adaptability. The characteristic four-beat gait of this breed makes it a pleasure to ride. There is, however, more to this species than meets the eye. Read this post from Canvas Personalized to learn all there is to know about this amazing horse breed.

Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse Key Figures

Weight950-1,200 pounds
Height11-16 hands
Best forTrail riding, pleasure riding, and farm work.
Suitable for riders of all experience levels, including children and seniors.
Lifespan25-40 years

1. Kentucky Mountain Saddle Breed History and Origins

Eastern Kentucky mountain residents have been selectively breeding Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horses for almost 200 years because of the breed’s distinctively easygoing temperament, sturdy build, and smooth movement. These horses can do it all, from plowing fields to transporting people across rough terrain. 

The exact beginnings of this breed are shrouded in mystery. However, the surefooted Narragansett pacer, which originated in the east of the United States in the 18th century but is now extinct, is a potential predecessor of the Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse. The Tennessee Walking Horse, the Rocky Mountain Horse, and maybe even more breeds are all in its extended family tree.

The Origin Of Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse
The origin of Kentucky mountain saddle horse (Image: Getty Images)

For a long time, this horse was a hidden treasure. Its smooth ride, versatility, and reliability were not widely known or appreciated. It was not until 1989 that the Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse Association (KMSHA) was founded to serve as a registration body for the breed.

2. Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse Characteristics of Appearance

Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse Size

This horse is a versatile and adaptable breed that can fit different riders and disciplines. One of the reasons for this is its height. The Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse’s height varies from 11 hands (44 inches) to 16 hands (64 inches), which means there is a size for everyone. To be registered, they have to be at least 11 hands tall. The register divides them into two classes based on their height: Class A horses are 14 hands or more, and Class B horses are between 11 and 13.3 hands.

Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse Size
Kentucky mountain saddle horse size (Image: Horse Breeds Pictures)

The Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse’s weight ranges from 950 to 1,200 pound. The breed’s weight also matches its height, giving it a balanced and proportionate appearance.

Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse Colors and Markings

The breed is available in a wide range of gorgeous patterns and solid colors common to horses. You can find them in colors like black, brown, chestnut, palomino, buckskin, dun, grullo, roan, champagne, cremello, and perlino. The horses’ flowing manes and tails vary in hue, resulting in a plethora of coat-mane-tail color combinations. The resulting contrast is frequently stunning.

The breed may also have white markings on their faces and legs. However, the markings cannot be more than 36 square inches of the horse’s coat to be registered as a Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse. If the horse has more white than that, it is classified as a Spotted Mountain Horse.

Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse Roan
Kentucky mountain saddle horse roan (Image: ehorses)

Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse Gaits

What sets the Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse apart from other breeds is its natural ability to perform a four-beat gait, known as an amble or a rack. This is a smooth and steady gait that allows the horse to travel over rough terrain with ease. The horse moves its feet in the same sequence as a walk but with more speed and rhythm.

The rider feels no bounce or jolt, as the horse always keeps at least one hoof on the ground. This makes them a perfect choice for riders who have physical challenges or limitations.

3. Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse Temperament

This horse is famous for its friendliness and calm demeanor. The gentle nature of these horses makes them ideal for kids and novice riders. They are also social animals that do not get easily spooked, making them safe to ride. 

In fact, gentleness and willingness are mandatory characteristics for the horses to be registered by the KMSHA. If you enjoy time spent with horses, these would make terrific friends.

Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse Temperament
Kentucky mountain saddle horse temperament (Image: Wikipedia)

4. How to Care

Diet and Nutrition

A balanced diet of high-quality grass, hay, grain, and fruits and vegetables is ideal for these horses. If they are confined and cannot graze freely, supplemental vitamin and mineral intake is necessary. Due to their origins in mountainous regions, where grazing is not always an option, these horses may need somewhat less food than ordinary horses to maintain their weight. But that relies heavily on the individual’s stature and amount of activity.

Common Health Issues

The Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse is a breed that was developed to be sturdy and hardy in the rough terrain of eastern Kentucky. The breed is generally not prone to any specific health issues. However, like any horse breed, they are not immune to some health problems below.

  • Stifle and hock soreness and lameness: These are joint problems that affect the hind legs of the horse. They can cause the horse discomfort, edema, stiffness, and decreased movement.
  • Ringbone and sidebone: These are bone growths that occur on the pastern or coffin joints of the horse’s feet.
Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse Colors
Kentucky mountain saddle horse health issues (Image: Horse Canada)

It is crucial to provide proper care for your horse to prevent or minimize these problems. You should also consult your veterinarian if you notice any signs of discomfort or abnormality in your horse.


The Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse only needs the typical care given to a horse. Daily brushing can help remove dirt and debris from your horse’s coat and evenly oils throughout its entire body. Every day, but especially after returning from a trail ride, you should check and clean the horse’s feet. The horse’s long, flowing mane and tail may be kept neat with the use of a detangler, a mane comb, and a tail brush.

5. Are these Horses right for You?

The Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse is a great trail horse due to its smooth pace, agility, and steadiness. They also have a natural gait that is comfortable and easy on the rider’s joints.

They’re sociable horses who enjoy being around people. Because of their temperament, these horses are ideal for novice riders of any age. This horse breed is a good option if you want a horse that will be a devoted, loving companion and you have the time to spend with it.

Horse Grooming
Grooming for this horse (Image: Horse Breeds Pictures)

6. How to Adopt or Buy

The average cost to adopt or buy a horse is $2,000 to $12,000. This depends on the horse’s age, health, training, and pedigree, among other things. The best locations to seek a horse are reputable breeders or private sellers. It would be best if you learned as much as you could about your horse’s health, especially warning symptoms like lameness or trouble breathing.

Are These Horses Right For You?
Are these Horses right for You? (Image: DiscoverTheHorse)

If you are looking for a Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse for sale, you may want to check out the following table. It contains information on reputable horse breeders in the US market.

Classic FarmGeorgetown, KY or 859-221-6620
EquineNowVarious locations
Love the EnergyN/A
Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse AssociationLexington, KY 699-3000
Reputable Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse breeders in the USA

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You have discovered the history, traits, and purposes of this fantastic breed, which is famous for its smooth and easy four-beat gait. The Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse is also a flexible and adaptable equine, fit for various disciplines and riders. If you want to explore more about other horse breeds and how to look after them, please visit the Canvas Personalized blog for more articles.