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The Moyle horse breed is a unique and handsome horse breed characterized by its frontal bosses or horns. This rare horse breed is believed to have been bred by Rex Moyle in the mid 20th century. Rex Moyle developed the breed as a riding horse in Idaho from Mustangs brought from Utah.
The horses from the Moyle horse breed are also distinguished by their unusual freedom of movement in the shoulder. Their standout frontal bosses referred to as horns are believed to have been inherited from their Asian ancestors.
These horses are extremely hardy and possess extraordinary endurance. This rare horse breed is sadly not in its heyday and experiencing declining numbers. However, they are a horse breed undeniably worth checking out, by equestrians and casual horse lovers alike.
The Moyle horse breed is sometimes called a Mormon horse breed. The horses from the breed are thought to have been initially bred by the Mormon people during the 1800s.
Their lineage includes Mustangs and Cleveland Bays and genetic markers also indicate some common ancestry with the Spanish horse. Their small frontal bosses or horns are a feature seen only in a few breeds such as the Carthusian horse of Spain.
The history of their origin has a link to the Mormon Pony express. During the end of the Porter Rockwell era, an enterprising rancher named Chris Hansen seized upon an unusual breed of Moyle horse and convinced its owner to sell. The pregnant horse he bought was later gifted to his sixteen-year-old daughter. The lady went on to marry into the Moyle family and her son Rex Moyle became the person who bred these horses and gave the breed his namesake. The pregnant filly proved lucky and produced sixteen foals that became the foundation stock for the Moyle family ranch horses.
The horses were used primarily as working ranch horses and became well regarded for their stamina and strength. While most cowboys in the area needed eight to ten horses to get the work done, the cowboys on the Moyle ranch could do well with only one horse. This endurance became a distinctive and enviable characteristic of the breed.
Around 1900, Utah passed a law that made it a felony to keep a stallion that was not a registered purebred. As a result by the 1930s, barely any breeds of the original Mormon horses bred by Porter Rockwell existed and fewer still remained after his death.
It was Rex Moyle’s tireless efforts that revitalized his ranch breeding stock and eventually saved the Moyle horse breed itself. Rex Moyle looked at hundreds of Mustangs in the mountains near Salt Lake and found a few mares that resembled those from his family ranch. He bought them back to the ranch and over time built a big herd. He avoided excessive inbreeding but did some crossing with a Cleveland Bay Stallion and was eventually successful in producing a big line of strong Moyle horses.
These horses brought great success to the family. In 1962, a Moyle Horse finished 6th in the Tevis Cup. In 1964, the family took three horses to the Tevis Cup where they finished second, third, and fourth. One of the Moyle’s horses, Sweet Pea, won the Vermont 100-mile trail ride and just a week later, she was crowned grand champion in a contest in Maryland.
In 1983, Hawk, another Moyle horse won big awards. Hawk was also inducted into the Endurance Horse Hall of Fame. The family of Moyle horses continued to bring laurels to the Moyle family and have become synonymous with strength and resilience.
The Moyle horse is usually known for its brown or bay coloring but comes in other solid coat colors too. They very rarely have face or leg markings. They are also the rare few breeds of horses with horns. They have a dense coat with long back muscles, making them ideal for riding. They are not very wide but have deep chests.
Moyle horses have strong shoulders and muscular forelegs. They have large, tough feet and have an exceptionally long walking stride. Their uniquely large liver and spleen size make them especially suitable for endurance rides and ranch work.
Breeding And Uses
From the 1960s onwards and for the next 20 years, the Moyle horse family has competed in multiple endurance rides, including the Tevis Cup. Their uniquely high stamina makes them great for competing in equestrian competitions like jumps and races. They are also considered great for ranch work and trail riding.
Moyles are long horses, with a height of between 14.3–15.2 hands. They are extremely strong and have an especially large rib cage and large internal organs.
What Breeds Make Up The Moyle horses?
The Moyle horses are thought to have been bred from Mustangs and Cleveland Bays. Moyle horses thereby carry both breeds in their lineage. They are also thought to possess some Spanish ancestry.
These horses are usually brown or bay colored but come in other more stock colors too.
What Do They Look Like?
This breed of horses is distinctive for the pair of little bony knobs above their eyes. The protrusions commonly referred to as horns are in reality skin-covered bony protuberances.
What Are They Used For?
Moyle horses are great for endurance rides, trail riding and ranch work. This breed has amazing stamina and immense strength, compared to most other breeds, making it ideal for working long hours and hard physical labor.
Where Do They Live?
Moyle horses were originally bred on an Idaho ranch. This breed sadly does not have a registry or a member association and is currently experiencing declining numbers.
How Fast Are They?
They are extremely fast and are therefore used most frequently in equestrian competitions. They are also great on race tracks.
Conclusion / Summary
The rare Moyle horse breed is sadly experiencing declining numbers. However, these friendly and extraordinarily intelligent creatures deserve a second and third look.
This breed of horse ranks higher than most other breeds when it comes to speed and agility. As a result, they are the perfect horse breed to use for racing and competitions. It’s worth preserving this beautiful breed from decline so that more people can experience its strength and beauty.
With their exquisitely hardy temperament, Moyle horses are bound to make perfect companions for life. If you are a horse lover, you must experience this breed, with a unique and interesting history of origin, at least once.
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.