Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse
Kentucky Mountain Horses in Europe
by Armin Kadlecsovics
Ten years ago, nobody knew much about Mountain Horses. A part from Isclandic ponies the gait was not at all familiar to most riders. There were only three breeders of Mountain horses over Europe. Some of these breeders just had a stallion KMSH which they bred to other European breeds since the books were open, but of course, these were not "real" Kentuckies, for they didnít all have the fantastic character of the KMSH issued from Kentucky. The books being now half closed, accepting still cross breeds with other gaited American breeds, there is a better guarantee that the breed conserves all itís qualities.
Now you can count over 20 breeders and perhaps 300 Mountain Horses. Promotion started and passionate breeders wanted to get this horse known for all itís qualities, specially for trail riding because of the comfort of the gait, but also the easy going family horse.
European breeders are getting together now, to promote the horse by showing in local fairs, international shows, but also just trail riding with them, whether professionally or just for the fun. We now have representatives of 5 countries and soon more, going from France were you have the biggest number of breeders and horses, to Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and soon England, Sweden, Italy and the Tcheque Republik We even had contacts from Russia, a breeder wanting info. Horses from Europe have been sold to the island of "la Rťunion" in the Indian Ocean, and a few years earlier, we received 3 Israeli's, interested in Mountain Horses
So, the breed is taking on!
Breeders have decided to work together so as to do a serious promotion, sharing fees on shows and fairs. We all want to promote respectfully towards all, from the big breeders to the small ones, with quality horses and quality trainers, so as to show the best of our Mountain Horses.
The gait been unknown to most riders, there is a big work to be done to find trainers, so as to show the best of the four beat gait of our Mountain horses. But we are lucky in Europe to have many graduated instructors that have the knowledge of riding and classical dressage to learn quickly all the skills that are useful for the gait. Clinics are also organized: how to train the horse into gait, but also the difference in a pacing horse, step pacing and trotty horse. Classical equitation is very helpful for learning about "balance" and "suppleness" that will help develop a good gait.
We also enjoy cantering the horse, doing some jumping and dressage, for the horse is able to do all this without loosing the gait.
The promotion is done to have a horse that you can enjoy at all times with an extra gait: the four beat gait! Just have fun with your Mountain Horse!
Left photo: Sky Lark, ridden by Leonie Prins during "Horse Event", the biggest event in The Netherlands.
Center photo: Tony Wright who came from France to compete at our 2011 KMSHA/SMHA International Grand Championship show.
Right photo: "Les pres díAllys" Loí Low, Armin,a friend and Julie.