(The) Mountain Trail Walkers (Pony/Horse)
Mountain Trail = Wilderness type trail riding capabilities
Walking = Walking Gaited ~ Not Multi-Gaited
MTW ~is not ~ another registry for Mountain Horses ~or~ Tennessee Walking Horses
The idea that there are any "pure" breeds is simply a myth. For thousands of years, people bred for function, not papers. Horses were named by the geographic area of origin, which was what defined a breed, not "purity" of breeding. Our ancestors would have laughed at such an idea, and acted like it was the Emperor with No Clothes, which is an apt description of breed snobs that claim that their horses are the most "pure." As Deb Bennett observed in her powerful book Conqueors, the uniquely American obsession with breed "purity" would be funny if the results were not so tragic.
Using the standards of the original
Walking Saddle Horses of 1860's - 1880's
Disposition ~ Born having a sane & sensible temperament, not spooky, non reactive, having an easy going acceptance of new things, relaxed, laid back, and Mellow. Predisposition to be a Safe & Sane Trail mount. People oriented, suitable for both adults, children & grandparents.
Energy conserving rather than forward moving. RE: "He can be out to pasture for months, get on him again and hes just as slow as before, so laid back as to verge on lazy. But he does go when signaled to go without have to use continus proding."
Since disposition is such a strongly inherited trait, careful determination should be made about any and all breeding stock used to produce Mountain Trail Walkers.
Conformation ~ Built to easily carry an adult rider, having sturdy bone, a short back, and deep from withers to sternum, with medium length legs in proportion to body depth, strong hooves, and correct legs. Have high withers suitable to hold a western saddle, and not be mutton withered, a narrow straight back, but with a good width of chest and enough depth of body to have good heart and lungs. High headedness is not a desired conformation trait.
A Mountain Trail Walker's height should be between 13-15 hands at maturity (5 - 8 years).
Color/Markings ~ Any color/markings except Appaloosa markings and characteristics, as the "Indian Schuffle" is the signature gait of (foundation) Appaloosa's
Way of Going ~ "Beauty is as beauty does!" the Mountain Trail Walker should be able to safely, sanely, and easily negotiate rugged and challenging mtn. wilderness type trails. The gaits are inherited, smooth and easy to ride. They are not speed(ing) gaits.
The ideal is THREE gaited ~ Not multi-gaited!
The three gaits are: the (3 to 5 mph) flat footed walk; the (6 to 8 mph) running walk; and the canter/lope. With the running walk as the default middle gait (with no rack or lateral gait). This is the gait which matches the standards for the original running walk of the Walking Saddle Horses of 1860's - 1880's (before Allan F-1 was born). Default meaning that while you could try to mix their gaits up while riding them, ideally the Mountain Trail Walker will continually try to put itself right back into it's running walking gait when the rider is not actively coercing it to do some other gait.
The original Walking Horses of the 1860's - 1930's did not have the very loose, very exaggerated overstride and exaggerated head nod which is seen in the Tennessee Walking Horse industry of today.
Breeding standards changed when the registry endorsed a more stylish show-type performance horse with an extreme stride and deeper head nod, encouraging evenness-with-speed.
WARNING: Training can be used to make natural step pacers show better (at the running walk) than a genetic running walker with less training.
A Rare and Endangered Type:
The good minded, three gaited pony/horse still exists, but not as a distinct breed characteristic in any of today's existing breed registries. It will take breeding to match phenotype instead of relying on any existing registry to re-produce the origional Walking Saddle Horse.
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Mountain Trail Walkers