Since the time America began, the Racking Horse has been legendary for its beauty, stamina and calm disposition, this noble animal’s popularity grew strong on the great southern plantations before the Civil War. It was learned that the horse could be ridden comfortably for hours because of its smooth, natural gait.
The Racking Horse is attractive and gracefully built with a long sloping neck, full flanks, well boned, smooth legs, and finely textured hair. The Racking Horse is considered a “light” horse in comparison with other breeds, averaging 15.2 hands high (a “hand” is considered to be four inches) and weighing 1,000 pounds. Colors may be black, bay, sorrel, chestnut, brown, gray, yellow, cremello, buckskin, dun, palomino, roan, champagne, and even spotted.
The “rack” of the Racking Horse is a bi-lateral four-beat gait which is neither a pace nor a trot. It is often called a “single-foot” because only one foot strikes the ground at a time. The Racking Horse comes by this gait as naturally as walking or striking a bold trot comes to other breeds. He is not to be confused with other breeds, with which the “rack” is an artificially achieved gait resulting from special training. Though he may be shown under saddle, in hand or in harness, and may be flat shod or shown with pads, he still performs the smooth, collected gait which made him famous as a pleasure mount.
Beginning riders have found the Racking Horse to be the answer to their prayers, not only for his extremely comfortable ride, but also because of his unusual friendliness to humans. Beginners and veterans alike can appreciate the opportunities generated by this intelligent, family oriented steed.
In 1975, an act of legislature declared the Racking Horse to be Alabama’s State horse. This notoriety, as well as the comfortable ride and beautiful stride makes the Racking Horse a favorite both in the show ring and on the trail.
The RHBAA has programs such as: Futurity Breeders’ Association, Pleasure Association, Professional Trainers’ Association, Amateurs’ Association, Juvenile Auxiliary and Ladies Auxiliary. These divisions are for the purpose of helping members experience the natural abilities of the Racking Horse in its native environment in and outside the show ring, keeping sharp the skill of both rider and horse under saddle and in harness.
Registered Racking Horses are presently found throughout the United States and in several foreign countries. Over 80,000 horses are registered with the RHBAA at its headquarters in Decatur, Alabama.