We specialize in foundation bred Missouri Foxtrotter

Endangered Species

         The old fashioned fox trotting horse is nearly extinct. The fox trotter endeared itself so intensely to the horsemen of the rugged Ozarks of Missouri that they started a breed registry in an effort to preserve their treasured horses. That fox trotter is basically unheard of today.

        The fox trotter these men cherished was a workhorse by day & a pleasure horse by night. They were family horses with sweet calm dispositions, a big heart, & good balanced conformation. They had various gaits but could move out in a fast walk, had a nice ‘rocking chair’ canter, & preferred a smooth fox trot that allowed the hind feet to land nearly in the track of the front foot. This disfiguring of the front track with the back was referred to as ‘capping their tracks’ & allowed for the great sure footedness that, along with the smooth fox trot gait, placed the fox trotting horse far & above all other using horses in the rugged Ozarks. This is the horse that is nearly extinct today.

       It would seem the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed Registry was late in getting started since the horses had been around in the early 1900’s. The registry was finally started in the late 40’s & was only a couple or so years old when there was a fire that destroyed all the records. It started back up again but within 10 years breeders were already thinning out the bloodlines of the fine old fox trotters with that of the Tennessee Walking horses. The books of the registry were left open until the early ‘80’s & by that time the influx of TWH bloodlines was quite heavy. Today trying to find a fox trotter without TWH bloodlines is like hunting for a needle in a hay barn.

       Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against the TWH’s. They are a fine breed of horses. The problem arises when you try to smother the grand old fox trotters out of the picture. The true ole fox trotters are diagonal gaited & their conformation is such to achieve this diagonal action. The TWH is a lateral gaited horse & are built accordingly. As a breeder one should know that if you mix the two you are going to lose one. Since the lateral genes are dominate the TWH characteristics have for the most part taken over the ‘modern bred’ fox trotters of today.

       The TWH was a flashier moving horse in the show ring while the old style fox trotter was steady & consistent. So the big push for the TWH bloodlines came from the show ring with the wonderful qualities of the true old fox trotter falling by the wayside. ‘Capping of the tracks’ was quickly replaced by ‘over reach’. An upright walking of the front feet & trotting of the hind feet for a smooth fox trot was replaced by ‘sliding of the hind feet’. What was a true fast walk has been replaced by what we used to call a ‘stepping pace’. The smooth ride is now a jarring one. The sweet old fashioned fox trotter was no longer appreciated in the show ring, so they left years ago. Today you will have to search long & hard to find a true fox trotter of old bloodlines with no TWH influence.

       For years now the ‘for sale’ ads in the MFTHBA monthly publication are more likely to proudly proclaim the fox trotter to perform a running walk rather than a fox trot. There is a multitude of ‘double registered’ horses in the fox trot registry. This means that the horse is registered in both the TWH registry & the MFTHBA registry. Which makes these horses full blooded TWH’s. Quite sad to my way of thinking.

       I was most fortunate 35 years ago to cross the path of an outstanding individual of the old bred fox trotter when I became the owner of Rambling Red. He had such an impact on me that I have spent the past 35 years trying to preserve these grand ole horses for future generations. Red had NO TWH blood. His son Shadow had NO TWH blood. They are both gone. But to my knowledge Shadow’s two sons, Charlie & Jurne are the only two V-factored 0 studs we have left in the fox trot world. I hope I am wrong. I invite anyone to let me know of any other producing fox trotter that is a V-0. I would also like to know of any producing fox trotters V-75 or lower. We really need to work together to bring back the old style fox trotter.

       Balance is always the secret to any healthy undertaking. But as is the case in all endangered species, the balance has been horribly tipped to one direction. This time it is resulting in the loss of a wonderful breed of horse. Please, we can’t let this continue.


Burton Foxtrotters

4597 U S 62 E, Beaver Dam, KY 42320