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Missouri Fox Trotter Horse: Care Guide, Varieties, Lifespan & More (with Pictures)

Missouri Fox Trotter horses in an open grassy field

You know by one look when a horse is strolling with confidence. It has its head down, tail held high, and each step is solid and deliberate to show off its majestic beauty. This confident amble is how the Missouri Fox Trotter earned its well-known name.

The Missouri Fox Trotter is a horse that was bred specifically for gaiting, which refers to their graceful movements that give owners a smooth ride. When paired with their sturdy builds, these qualities make this breed highly sought after and a wonderful horse to own.


Quick Facts about Missouri Fox Trotter Horse

Species Name: Equus ferus caballus
Family: Equidae
Care Level: Medium
Temperament: Calm, gentle, fearless
Color Form: Chestnut, champagne, black, palomino, grey, spotted, piebald, skewbald, bay
Lifespan: 20 – 30 years
Size: 900 – 1,200 pounds
Diet: Grains, grass, hay, salt, minerals
Minimum Pasture Size: 1.75 – 2 acres
Pasture Set-Up: Grassy pastures free from steep hills and wet areas with large gates

Missouri Fox Trotter Horse Overview

You’re not going to have any difficulty guessing where the Missouri Fox Trotter got its name. Settlers from the Ozark Mountains of Missouri first developed this horse breed in the early 19th century. They were created by breeding stock horses with gaited horses and thus gave us a sturdy yet graceful breed.

Missouri Fox Trotters have a smooth gait that made them feel like maneuvering the rockery terrain of the mountains was effortless. They had to be able to offer a smooth ride while still being able to work to do things like plow fields and haul lumber.

This horse breed has a straight face, muscular body, and shorter back. They hold their heads and tails high to make up for their short, stocky bodies. These horses are an average height that reaches about 14 hands high at maturity, and they usually live anywhere from 20 to 30 years, although a longer life is possible with high-quality care.

There are a wide mix of markings to choose from when purchasing a Missouri Fox Trotter. Some horses show markings on their legs and faces, and others have a solid coat color.

Missouri Fox Trotter 2
Missouri Fox Trotter 2 (Image Credit: Gaitedhorse, Wikimedia Commons CC 4.0 International)

How Much Do Missouri Fox Trotters Cost?

The price of a horse has a lot of components. The breed type, bloodline, and overall health are all factors that make the price of a horse go up and down, and it means there is a massive range for each type of horse.

Missouri Fox Trotter horses cost an average of around $5,000. With that said, that doesn’t mean you’ll have to pay that much for one. Some of these breeds sell for as low as $1,000 or as high as $13,000. Take the breeder and bloodline history into consideration to ensure you’re getting a quality horse that is going to meet your specific needs without any issues.


Typical Behavior & Temperament

The Missouri Fox Trotter breed is known for its calm temperament and good nature. They are relaxed, quiet horses, and they have a high tolerance and excitement when around human company. They are a popular pick for beginner riders like kids because they are sure-footed and graceful.

The Missouri Fox Trotter is also a common choice among forest rangers. These horses show bravery when confronted with trickery terrains, and their strength makes riders feel safe when out for a ride.

Appearance & Varieties

A great thing about buying a Missouri Fox Trotter is that there is a color and size for you no matter what you’re looking for. They stand 14 to 16 hands high, making them the perfect side for a standard riding horse. Their fur coats come in a range of colors, the most popular being chestnut, champagne, black, palomino, grey, spotted, piebald, skewbald, and bay.

Missouri Fox Trotters have straight backs, pronounced withers, and well-developed necks and joints. Their shoulders and powerful, and their tales are set high. Their anatomy doesn’t allow them to be high steppers, but their gaits are rhythmic and their gallops are equally enjoyable. They hold themselves with such confidence that they radiate poise and grace every time they’re in action.

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How to Take Care of Missouri Fox Trotter Horses

Pasture and Stall Setups

With the help of humans, horses are now able to survive in nearly any habitat. However, we have to do our best to provide them with a safe space, both indoors and out, so that they aren’t going to get hurt and live in healthy, clean environments.

It is best that horses have access to both indoor and outdoor facilities. Fully enclosed pole barns with lots of ventilation are ideal for horse stalls. The barns protect these horses from severe weather and give them a designated place to stay clean.

Indoor stalls should have plenty of space for your horse to sit, stand, and lay down. Slip-resistant material or dirt-covered floors are essential to keep your animals from falling and causing damage to ligaments and joints. Bare concrete and hardwood floors are both unacceptable.

Provide your horse with clean, dry straw for them to use as bedding and keep warm in colder environments. Spread some products, like Sweet PDZ, around the stall to keep the area free from excess moisture. If you are unable to get straw, wood shavings are also suitable.

Outdoor pastures are equally crucial to horses. They require about two acres to roam and should have plenty of access to grass and water. Build a shelter in your pasture to provide all of your horses with a place to shade themselves from the sun, escape a rainstorm, or warm up when it’s snowing.

Used proper fencing materials on your outdoor pasture so that they stay safely enclosed and won’t escape. Wood, woven wire, and pipe fencing are all great options, while barbed wire should never be used because it could injure the horses.

Missouri Fox Trotter walach
Missouri Fox Trotter walach (Image Credit: Gaitedhorse, Wikimedia Commons CC 4.0 International)

Do Missouri Fox Trotters Get Along with Other Pets?

Aside from a few stray cats and the family dog, your horses likely won’t get a lot of interaction with animals other than horses. The great thing about the Missouri Fox Trotter is that they are gentle giants. This horse breed gets along well with most others and makes the perfect addition to the family. It’s hard to say how they will react to cats and dogs, as each individual is different, but they are so brave that it likely won’t be an issue to have your cats and dogs running around.


What to Feed Your Missouri Fox Trotter Horses

Most horses should eat anywhere from 1.5% to 2.5% of their body weight and drink anywhere from 5 to 10 gallons of water every day. Horses are foragers and they must have a hefty supply of long-stem hay, legumes, and pasture grasses to graze on. Foraging is the cornerstone of this breed’s diet, but they can’t survive on it alone.

Grains help target nutritional deficiencies for horses, so you should consult your vet to find out which is best for your horse. Some grains are low in fiber, while others have low carbohydrates. Popular grains for horses include wheat, corn, milo, and barley. Before you give grains to your horses, discuss the nutritional needs with an expert.

Keeping Your Missouri Fox Trotter Healthy

Ensuring your Missouri Fox Trotter gets their basic requirement of vitamins, minerals, and proteins is key to ensuring they live a healthy life. Food and water may be the bare minimum for horses, but grooming also plays a significant role in keeping them healthy.

The Missouri Fox Trotter requires consistent grooming, just like other equine breeds. They must be washed and brushed to get rid of loose hair, and there are different brushes for specific purposes. Body finishing brushes, curry combs, mane combs, shedding blades, and tail brushes are all used to keep the horse’s coat clean and healthy.

On top of keeping their coats clean, it is vital to use a hoof pick to remove debris that gets stuck in their four hooves. This is especially important after a day of riding or when they’ve gone extended periods without it.


Missouri Fox Trotters were bred from a variety of horses. These breeds mainly consisted of Arabian, Morgan, and American Saddlebred horses. Breeders were able to combine the different characteristics of some of these breeds to create a versatile animal that could travel long distances, haul heavy loads, and have an appealing look and demeanor while doing so.

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Are Missouri Fox Trotter Horses Suitable For You?

Missouri Fox Trotter horses are a fantastic horse to buy regardless of if you are a beginning horse rider or someone who is more experienced. These animals are good-natured, friendly horses that make great family pets. Their confidence, bravery, strength, and carefulness all adds up to a breed that you, your family, and even your children can feel safe on. They don’t have any severe health issues and have an average care level comparable to most other horse breeds.

If you don’t already own one, the Missouri Fox Trotter horse is one of the best horse breeds you can buy. This is especially true if you have a deep love for horses and want one who is going to love you back equally. They are hard workers who can listen to a command and are going to give you a few decades of smooth riding.


Featured Image Credit: Brook Robinson, Shutterstock

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