For more than 160 years, Eastern Kentuckians have enjoyed their homegrown product, the MOUNTAIN PLEASURE HORSE. Generation after generation of Kentuckians have stories to tell of their easy gaited, hard working, good dispositioned, reliable Mountain Pleasure Horses. For years called “Mountain Horses” or “Country Saddle” horses, the Mountain Pleasure Horse is the old-time gaited breed of horse that existed in Kentucky for well over 160 years ago and from which selective breeders developed the Tennessee Walking Horses, American Saddlebred Horses and more recently, Rocky Mountain Horses. Long before these other gaited breeds were in existence, a particular type of horse was being bred on the steep hillsides to work the fields and “ride the best”. The MOUNTAIN PLEASURE HORSE quietly existed in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky where the breeders maintained the old-time horse by selecting for their basic criteria, gait and disposition.
The disposition and trainability of the Mountain Pleasure Horse may be the most appreciated characteristic for novice horse owners. They are a very intelligent horse that loves attention. Veteran trainers of other breeds are amazed at how fast they learn. It is not uncommon to see two and three year olds effectively competing with older horses at area horse shows or on challenging trail rides. Once the Mountain Pleasure Horse has been trained, they remember their lessons well. The Mountain Pleasure Horse is waiting with its natural gait and willing disposition, whether you ride once a week or once a month.
The Mountain Pleasure Horses’s distinctive, easy riding gait, allows the sure-footed horse to cover a lot of ground with minimum effort for both the horse and rider. The gait is an evenly spaced, four beat lateral gait with moderate forward speed and extension without exaggerated knee and hock action. The horse moves out with a gait in which one can count four distinct hoof-beats that produce a cadence of near equal rhythm. The gait is natural. It is bred into these horses through generations of proper breeding. No action devices, aids or harsh training methods are necessary or allowed by the Mountain Pleasure Horse Association. The unique thing about the Mountain Pleasure Horse is its’ ability to travel long distances at this gait with a variance of speed. Fast or slow, the beat remains the same. The Mountain Pleasure Horse is also unique in its ability to adapt and learn. You will find these horses in many competitions for barrel racing and extreme cowboy races to the gracefulness of the show ring. However, their forte’ is their sure footed ride on the trails. Combined with their easy, no bounce gait, the Mountain Pleasure horse is the perfect horse for the young and the young at heart rider.