Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horses are from the U.S. state of
Kentucky. They were developed as an all-around farm and riding horse.
They are related to the Tennessee Walking Horse and other
gaited breeds, but their exact early history is unknown. Kentucky Mountain
Saddle Horses have a similar history to the Rocky Mountain Horse, and together
are sometimes called "Mountain Pleasure Horses". The Kentucky
Mountain Saddle Horse was developed by farmers looking for a small horse that
could perform dual duty as a powerful work horse and comfortable riding horse.
They were used for long travel over rough terrain, and were developed to have
gentle temperaments so that they could be handled by young members of the farm
families. Today, they continue to be used as riding horses, and are regarded as
excellent trail mounts in rugged terrain.
The KMSHA was founded in 1989. In 2002, a subsidiary
organization, the SMHA, was formed to register horses who had more white
markings than were allowed by the KMSHA. As of 2011, the KMSHA has over 3,200
members and has registered over 24,000 horses. The majority of the horses are
in Kentucky, but the breed is also seen throughout the US, as well as in Canada
and a small population in Europe. The KMSHA and SMHA host a joint championship
show each year at the Kentucky Horse Park.
In 1989 the Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse Association
(KMSHA) was formed, and in 2002, the subsidiary Spotted Mountain Horse
Association (SMHA) was developed to register Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horses
with excessive white markings and pinto patterns. Conformation standards are
the same for the two groups of horses, with the main difference being the color
requirements. The KMSHA studbook is now closed to horses from unregistered
parents, although it cross-registers with several other registries, while the
SMHA studbook remains open.