Mountain Pleasure Horse Facts And Information – Breed Profile

The Mountain pleasure horse facts in this article will tell you all you want to know about the mountain pleasure horse. This horse is a gaited horse and its breed is of the primitive Appalachian gaited horse type. It is related to the Tennessee walking horse.

As the name of the horse suggests, it makes it suitable as a pleasure horse. These rocky mountain horses are ideally suited for riding in rugged terrain. The riding experience would be pleasurable for the riders, which is why this horse is almost exclusively used for riding.

Mountain Pleasure Horse


The mountain pleasure horses are descended from the Narragansett Pacer horse. The horse was known for its smooth natural gait. This made the horse suitable for use in mountainous areas. The descendants of these horses were known as saddle horses.

This breed of horse was developed in the region of Eastern Kentucky in the Appalachian mountains. The horse reflects the primitive Appalachian horse. The Appalachian gaited horse type of horses were the ancestors of this horse. 

These horses were developed along with the Saddlebred horse and the rocky mountain horse. The University of Kentucky in a study found that these horses were the parent of most of the gaited horses. 

The Mountain pleasure horse association was formed in the United States in 1989. The objective of the association was to preserve the bloodline for this horse. They also strive to encourage horse breeding of this horse. 

When the association was formed every Saturday certification was carried out. People were asked to bring their mountain horses and examiners would decide on certifying after carrying out an inspection and sending blood samples for genetic testing. This is how this breed officially came into existence.

The bloodlines of these horses can be traced as far back as 180 years. Today, DNA testing is used instead of blood-tests to verify the bloodline. 


The unique characteristic of this horse is its evenly spaced four-beat gait. The four-beat lateral gait is the feature that makes riding this horse a pleasure. This is a natural gait and even new-born horses develop this trait within a couple of hours after birth.

The natural intelligence, willingness to be trained and its pleasant nature are other distinguishing characteristics of this horse. 


The horse needs a standard diet comprising of grass, hay, and grains. A balanced diet with carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. They also need adequate vitamins. Treats like carrots can be given.

Breeding And Uses

The status of this horse has been marked as critical due to its low numbers. The books of the association had been closed from 1994 until 2009. Subsequently, they decided to register appendix horses to increase the number of these horses.

After criticism, it was decided in 2014 to have two divisions. The first one was the purebred horses and the second the appendix horses. To be listed in the purebred horse registry, horses had to have descended from the original foundation stock horse list. 


The Mountain pleasure horse is medium-sized. The height of this horse ranges from 14.2 hands (58 inches or 147 cms) to 15.2 hands (62 inches or 157 cms). The weight of this horse is usually between 850 and 950 pounds

Breeds Constituting the Mountain pleasure Horse

The mountain pleasure horse bloodline comes from the Hobbies that were gaited horses from Britain. These horses were used to develop the Narragansett Pacer. The descendants of these horses were bred to form the mountain horses from which this horse breed eventually was formed.

In fact, genetic tests have shown that the mountain pleasure horse is the ancestor to most of the gaited breeds in the USA. 


The horses are usually found in solid colors. The colors include bay, chestnut, black, chestnut, cremello, buckskin, and chocolate colors.

What Do These Horses Look Like?

The horse has a balanced body with a shoulder that has an angle of 45 degrees. This is important since it can move out in a reaching stride. The head is attractive in appearance. The horse has an arched neck. The eyes are bright and appear kind. It has a broad chest that is deep.

The hind legs are strong and are angled. This facilitates the natural smooth gait of this horse, which makes it so popular. The overall profile of this horse is straight. 

The Uses Of The Mountain Pleasure Horse

Mountain pleasure horses are mainly used for one purpose, which is riding. The horse has been used for years for riding in difficult terrain. It originated from the mountain horses that were used to ride in the mountains.

Riding in the mountains can be an unpleasant experience. People who have back problems and those who are aged can find the experience uncomfortable. This breed of horse does away with all the discomfort making the ride pleasurable, which is how the horse got its name.

Used mostly in the Appalachian mountains initially, the horse is ideally suited for use in rough terrain. The most distinctive feature of the horse is its gait. This beat is referred to as a saddle rack. It makes the movement of the horse look like a trot. This is what makes riding this horse so enjoyable.

The horse is used only for riding and not usually used for any other work. In fact, the association has disallowed the use of this horse for showjumping and other such purposes. 

Where Do They Live?

These horses are found in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, where it was developed. It is also found in many other places in the United States, especially in the mountainous regions.

What Is The Horse’s Lifespan?

This breed of horse is healthy and hence lives for long. It is among the horses that live for a long time. The horses live up to 35 years, which is a fairly long period. On average, these horses can be expected to live for 30 years.

This makes the horse highly useful as a riding horse. It is a dependable horse that does not usually face any serious problems. Some of the problems that few horses may face include polysaccharide storage myopathy and hyperkalemic periodic paralysis. 

The Speed Of This Horse

The horse has a moderate speed. It has been developed specifically for riding in mountainous terrain, where speed is not an issue. The horse is not known for its ability to run fast. It usually trots, which is the requirement in the territory where it is used.

On average, the horse can move up to 7 miles per hour. 

How Much Do They Cost?

Mountain pleasure horses are not found everywhere. The horse has been considered a critical species due to its low numbers. Purebred horses are very low in numbers since the registration requirements are tough. Such horses would be fairly expensive.

Appendix horses can be purchased at a lower price. The average price of this horse ranges from $2,000 to $3,500. Purebred horses can be even more expensive.

The price of this horse depends on the horse’s age, its breeding, the training it is undergone, and its gender. The MPHA has a stallion directory. It also lists out horses available for sale on its website. 

Are Mountain Pleasure Horses Suitable For Use By Beginners?

The mountain pleasure horse is one of the best horses for beginners. It is also suited for people with back pain or joint pain. People who have given up riding because of physical discomfort would enjoy the riding experience on this horse.

The smooth gait of this horse makes it best suited for all types of riders from young to old. The horse has a very pleasant disposition making it easy to ride even for beginners. The horse is lively and adapts itself quickly.

The horse is known for its intelligence and can be trained very quickly. It is a friendly horse that is gentle and hence a good horse for beginners.

Conclusion / Summary

The Mountain pleasure horse evolved from the saddle horses in the mountainous regions of Kentucky. This breed of horse was extensively used in the mountain since people needed a horse that could take them comfortably through difficult terrain.

The horse has a distinctive smooth gait known as saddle rack, which makes the riding experience pleasurable. This intelligent and friendly horse is best suited for all types of riders, especially for those who face problems like back pain. 

The horse’s lineage can be traced up to 200 years. Genetic testing has revealed that most of the smooth gaited horses can be traced to this horse. The horse breeding is controlled by the MPHA. The registrations have been closed and only offspring of existing horses can be registered now.

The number of this horse is fairly low. This is why the horse is considered to be critical by the Equus Survival Trust. The horses are classified as purebred horses and appendix horses. 

These horses live for a very long time and are generally healthy. They are exclusively used for riding and are not used for any other purposes.

There’s a whole world of horse breeds out there to explore! Discover and find out more information by checking out our horse breed guides.