Trail Horses Of THE WEST
New Mexico

History & Breeds

[ Always For Sale - ~Tennessee Walking Horses, Spotted Saddle Horses, Kentucky Mountain Horses, Rocky Mountain Horses, Missouri Fox Trotters, and many others!!]

The History of The Horses and The Owner
of Trail Horses Of THE WEST

I got back into horses in a big way later in life when my interest in big game hunting lead me to packing and hunting remote wilderness areas of the west.  Years later I bought an outfitting business out of Cody, Wyoming in the famous Thorofare area.  I assembled a string of over 30 head of horses of all breeds. Arabians, Thoroughbreds, Paints, Appaloosas, Morgan's, Quarters, wild mustangs, draft crosses, mules and of course many gaited breeds made up our string.  And do you know what?  I loved every one of them.  Why? Because their performance meant the safety of our clients and staff, as well as our financial future. We used exclusively gaited horses to bring our clients and myself in and out of camp, which was 29 miles of rough mountain trail.  (Ishawooa Trail) The other breeds were used to pack on coming in and out of camp and as saddle horses during the hunt.  Our gaited horses aided in the comfort of the long ride as well as moved faster going down the trail and getting our customers into camp and a rest.  Most days' darkness fell long before we reached camp or trailhead. (You can't kill elk if you are in camp when the sun is up.)  Riding in the dark was the norm and hence our understanding of the animal we call the horse and the respect and trust a rider and horse must have between them.

I have great appreciation for many breeds.  We often attend rodeos, team roping, horse races and my favorite to watch is Barrel Racing.  We also watch on television with great interest, other equine events like Dressage and Steeplechase.  We have little knowledge of these equine events but have tremendous appreciation for the skills of both horse and rider.

Why do we use and offer gaited horses for pleasure/trail riding?  The answer is simple-because that is what they were bred for!  You can see the happiness of a gaited horse under saddle and being ridden. He is doing what he was breed to do!  Just like dogs, horses were bred to do different tasks or disciplines.  We don't expect our Labradors to move or herd livestock.  And we don't expect our Boarder Collie and Red Heeler to retrieve ducks! Why people ask a breed that was bred to sprint a quarter of a mile or to work in an arena to be a trail horse is on the surface a mystery.  The answer is really not complex.  It is called marketing. Unfortunately every Horse Association claims their breed does it all.  Well they don't.  I once read in a trail-riding magazine written by the editor that he rides a Quarter Horse because "the breed epitomizes the west."  Go look at old photos of early settlers and cowboys. Do they look like Quarter horses to you?  Of course they don't.  Most Military Generals and people of means in those days rode gaited horses and the emphasis of breeding during those times was to produce comfortable horses and horses that traveled. The breeding of horses to compete in races and Timed Events didn't come until years later in this country. Keep in mind that most Horse Associations didn't come into existence until the late 1930's and early 1940's. There are some recognized breeds that have only started in the last decade! Now, if you desire a true breed you have to look at the Arabian, which is documented to be around for over 6,000 years.  The Arabian is an outstanding endurance horse but would not be our first choice as a pleasure/trail horse.  In fact, we have received several referrals from Arabian owners who do endurance riding, referring others to us wanting a pleasure/trail horse.

In the book titled ULTIMATE HORSE, written by Elwyn Hartley Edwards, who is an Englishman.  He writes about all breeds and says this about the temperament of the Tennessee Walker I shall quote verbatim.

"The outstanding feature of the Tennessee Walker is its temperament. Steady and reliable, it can be ridden by a beginner with absolute confidence.  This, as well as the easy comfort of the movement, makes it a popular family mount.  It is claimed to be the most naturally good-tempered of all horses and the most comfortable in the world."  
~by Elwyn Hartley Edwards 

At Trail Horses of THE WEST, we offer several breeds of gaited horses, all of which experts say are genetically nearly identical.  If you like the western way of life, as I do, don't be afraid to think outside the box or outside the arena, as we like to say.  If you have a breed that you think is better for pleasure/trail riding, let us know.  We will saddle up and ride behind you so you can show us.

Thanks for listening and good riding! 
~Fred Mau

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