The Missouri Fox Trotter was developed
in the rugged Ozark Mountains during the nineteenth century by
setters who needed smooth-riding, durable mounts that could travel
at a comfortable, surefooted gait for long distances.
Missouri achieved statehood in 1821 and
the pioneers who streamed across the Mississippi River to settle in
the Ozarks cam mostly from the vhills and plantations of Kentucky,
Tennessee and Virginia. They brought with them their finest
possessions, including their best saddle stock. The breeding of this
stock was largely Arabian, Morgan and plantation horses from the
deep south. Later more American Saddlebred, Tennessee Walking and
Standardbred breeding was added. It soon became apparent that horses
able to perform the easy, broken gait called the "fox trot" were the
most useful in the rocky, forest-covered hills of the Ozarks, and
selective breeding of the fox trot gait began.