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Rocky Mountain Horse

Ashley Bates

Introduction

Corn from a jar isn’t the only thing that came from the Rocky Mountains. This horse was named after some of the most epic hills in America. With a little Appalachian influence, these brilliant equines came into existence, combining a few popular horse breeds. And also, the name is a bit misleading—we’ll get into how!

Over time, this gorgeous specimen has developed quite a distinctive look, setting them apart from others of its kind. So, what can you expect when you own a Rocky Mountain Horse? What is their primary breed-related task? Let’s find out.

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Quick Facts about Rocky Mountain Horse

Species Name: Equus caballus
Family: Equidae
Care Level: Moderate
Temperature: Cold hardy
Temperament: Easy to train, calm
Color Form: Chocolate, black, bay, palomino, chestnut
Lifespan: 37 years
Size: 14-16 hands
Diet: Herbivore
Minimum Enclosure Size: 12’x 12’
Acreage: 1.5-2 acres per horse
Compatibility: High

Rocky Mountain Horse Overview

You might assume that the Rocky Mountain Horse originated in the Rocky Mountains—but you would only be partially right. In the same vicinity, Rocky Mountain Horses were actually developed in Kentucky.

However, some horses were brought from the foothills of the Rocky Mountains—hence the name.

Rocky Mountain Horses are multipurpose equines that have skills in many areas. You might find these horses trail riding, competing, or pulling machinery. They do equally well for show and work.

Because they’re so resourceful, many people wish to work with them. Their temperaments and overall willingness to learn makes them prize-winning picks.

Rocky Mountain Horse side view
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

How Much Do Rocky Mountain Horses Cost?

Many factors can contribute to the overall cost of the Rocky Mountain Horse.

Breeder

If you buy outright from a breeder, the cost might start out around $5,500 and go upward.

Age

Yearlings tend to be more expensive than older horses. However, that can change depending on other factors—like reputation and training.

Quality

Quality speaks volumes about the price you can expect. For instance, rarer colors or certain features might make them more valuable. Likewise, bloodlines with grand reputations can cost a lot more.

Training

The amount of training your horse has is an extremely key factor in how much they cost. Many want a horse who already has proper training, which they’re willing to pay significantly more for.

Care Cost

On top of initial costs, you have to factor in how much care costs will be. On average, it costs about $300 per month to care for a horse—but it can go up much more.

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Typical Behavior & Temperament

Rocky Mountain Horses have pleasing personalities that make excellent companion animals. Riders from all walks of life can enjoy these easy-going equines. They tend to be very relaxed and patient, making them perfect for children or inexperienced riders.

These horses are remarkably intelligent, picking up new concepts with ease. They have incredibly even actions, providing a level of comfort to their human friends.

Appearance & Varieties

Rocky Mountain Horses are broad and stout, sporting defined muscles and thick necks. They have a very steady gait, allowing easy riding and modest trotting.

While most Rocky Mountain Horses are chocolate with flaxen manes, they can also be:
  • Black
  • Bay
  • Palomino
  • Chestnut

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How to Take Care of Rocky Mountain Horse

To comfortably care for your Rocky Mountain Horse, you need to make sure all the conditions are right.

Habitat, Living Conditions & Setup

Fencing

You should have at least 1.5-2 acres of land per horse. You will need tightly secured fencing and consider electric options for reduced escapes.

Enclosure

Horses need dry, debris-free environments to sleep—like a comfy stall with lots of hay, food, and fresh water. Horse stalls should be 12’x 12’.

Grooming

You will need to groom your Rocky Mountain Horse daily. Brush over their fur to keep it shiny and healthy. Manes and tails should be tangle-free. Ensure that hooves are dry and clean.

Exercise

Your Rocky Mountain Horse needs 20 minutes to 2 hours of exercise per day.

Grazing

Horses need 2-4 hours of grazing time per day.

Vet Care

Horses should see a vet twice per year for routine exams. They also need to have their hooves maintained by a professional—unless you are skilled with the process.

Do Rocky Mountain Horses Get Along with Other Pets?

Not only will Rocky Mountain Horses get along with other horses in the pasture—they might also like your other pets, too. Since horses are so massive, it’s crucial to supervise any interactions between your smaller pets and your horse.

There is a chance that a Rocky Mountain Horse that isn’t appropriately socialized during its younger years could be skittish or wary of other creatures.

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What to Feed Your Rocky Mountain Horse

Rocky Mountain Horses require a nutrient-rich diet to keep their bodies healthy. While they get a lot of irreplaceable nutrition from grazing, they need grain and hay to keep up with their dietary demands, too.

Ensure they are getting a balance of proper carbohydrates, fiber, protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals. They require a plentiful supply of hay available at all times.

Because of high sugar content, be careful how much fruit you offer. But you can always give an apple as a healthy snack.

Fresh water is crucial, too. Your Rocky Mountain Horse will need a fresh water supply at all times.

Keeping Your Rocky Mountain Horse Healthy

To keep your Rocky Mountain Horse feeling their best, proper care is of utmost importance. You will need to keep a few things in mind when housing your horse friend:

  • Keep hooves clean and debris-free.
  • Offer a well-balanced daily diet.
  • Socialize your horse correctly.
  • Make sure your horse gets adequate exercise.
  • Give your horse the proper vet care and professional attention they need.

Even though these horses are typically healthy, they are prone to Equine Multiple Congenital Ocular Anomalies, or MCOA.

Breeding

If you’ve ever bred a horse before, you know just how much work it can be—and how expensive vet bills can get. Before you even consider breeding, make sure you have the correct conditions to care for the pregnant mare and foal.

The gestation period for a horse is between 11 and 12 months. Mares typically have only one foal per pregnancy. Twin pregnancies often end in fatality.

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Are Rocky Mountain Horses Suitable For You?

If you want a strong horse suitable for seasoned riders and beginners alike—this gorgeous breed might work well for you. Rocky Mountain Horses have a stunning, unique look and do well with direction and training.

If you think you’d like to own this equine, check around for local licensed breeders or buy from a reputable owner.


Featured Image: Plotitsyna NiNa, Shutterstock

Ashley Bates

Ashley Bates is a freelance dog writer and pet enthusiast who is currently studying the art of animal therapy. A mother to four human children— and 23 furry and feathery kids, too – Ashley volunteers at local shelters, advocates for animal well-being, and rescues every creature she finds. Her mission is to create awareness, education, and entertainment about pets to prevent homelessness. Her specialties are cats and dogs.