History of the Ambling Horse
Natural Ambling Horse Registry · 619 Raiford Road · Erwin, North Carolina 28339
Copyright © 2010 NAHR. All rights reserved.
    What is an Ambling Horse?

    An "amble" is a term used to describe a four-
    beat gait faster than a walk, but slower than
    a canter or gallop. The term can be used to
    describe a number of gaits including the rack,
    indian shuffle, running walk, tölt, paso fino,
    paso corto, paso largo, marcha picada, center
    march and even the slightly uneven fox trot.
    Though the speed, timing and footfall pattern
    differ for many of these gaits, they were once
    collectively referred to as an "amble" and horses
    who could execute them correctly and without the
    use of excessive artificial aids and extensive
    training were prized for the comfortable ride.

    Modern Ambling Breeds

    The following breeds may have natural ambling ability from birth: Albanian,
    American Curly, American Saddlebred, American Gaited Pony, Andean,
    Appaloosa, Asturian, Campolina, Candian, Cape Horse,  Florida Cracker Horse,
    Icelandic Horse, Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse, Mangalarga Marchador,
    Marwari, McCurdy Plantation Horse, Missouri Fox Trotter, Morgan, Mountain
    Pleasure Horse, Mule, Mytilene, National Show Horse (Arabian / American
    Saddlebred), North American Singlefooting Horse, Paso Fino, Peruvian Paso,
    Racking Horse, Rahvan, Rocky Mountain Horse, Sable Island Horse, Spanish
    Jennett, Spanish Narragansett,  Spotted Saddle Horse, Standardbred, Tennessee
    Walking Horse, Tennuvian (Tennessee Walking Horse / Peruvian Paso),  Tiger
    Horse, Trottingbred, United Mountain Pleasure Horse, Walkaloosa (Tennessee
    Walking Horse / Appaloosa), Wushen Mongolian.

    Ambling Horse History

    Modern day conceptions of the gaited horse breeds are based on short sighted
    historical records dating back to the early 1800’s. After much research and
    historical records searching, many brief references to horses that produced a “gait”
    were found. Interestingly, many of the references place gaited horses at several
    significant historical happenings.  Historical references to horses that moved
    forward at a “gait” or an “amble” have been noted as far back as 6000 years BCE.

    From 6000 to 4000 BCE historical references indicate that horses were
    domesticated by the Indo-Iranian and Celtic tribes. Archeological evidence shows
    the use of wooden bits. This first reference to the Celts domesticating the horse is
    significant as the next historical reference found suggests that the Celts kept and
    rode small “gaited” horses.

    Historical references indicate that Celts, riding small gaited horses, migrated to
    Europe around the year 2000 BCE. It is suggested that these small gaited horses
    are the foundation blood stock for the later known Austurcons, Galacians and
    Garranos gaited horse breeds.

    1000 BCE historical references indicate the existence of a newly developed gaited
    horse breed in central Asia. This new breed was called the Nisean.

    In 700 BCE, history indicates the arrival of Celts to the Iberian Peninsula renaming
    it Lusitania. It was here that the Celts bred a new Gaited horse well known even
    know as the Lusitano.

    In 600 BCE, Celts migrate to Ireland where a smaller version of the gaited horse
    was developed giving rise to the Irish Hobby horse.

    In 50 BCE, the upper class of Rome take note of the Ambling horse breeds of the
    Celts and of Asia, Importing horse of the Lusitano and Nisean breeds.

    In 45 BCE, historical references indicated that Julius Caesar invades Great Britain,
    introducing gaited horses of Gaulish heritage.

    In 71 AD, a historical reference states that the Austurcon ponies are crossed with
    several gaited Celtic breeds to produce the English hobbie horse.

    In 618 AD, the T’Ang dynasty in China breed a horse, in which “gait” is
    encouraged. This new breed was called the Soulon.

    The Vikings settle Iceland in 874 AD bringing with them Spanish bred horses using
    them to produce a gaited horse line.

    In 1172 AD, the Normans invade Ireland bringing with them larger horses that are
    introduced to the smaller gaited horses of the Celts. This cross adds size to the
    gaited Celtic horses.

    The Paso Fino breed comes into existence when Spain colonizes Puerto Rico in
    1508 AD.

    In 1665, the Andalusian horse, having been bred partly from the gaited Irish
    Hobbie, was used to create the Narragansett Pacer. This is where popular modern
    gaited horse history begins.

    In the year 1674, at a Spanish mission in Florida, near the Apilachicola River, The
    Florida Cracker gaited horse was produced.

    In the year 1802 is where the names we commonly see in OUR gaited horse
    pedigrees begin to appear. In Canada, a colt by the name of Tom Hal is foaled.
    Tom was later recognized as one of the first foundation sires of the American
    Saddlebred horse breed,  being issued the registry number ASHA # 3237. Tom Hal
    sires a colt named Bald Stockings. Bald Stockings goes on to sire the first
    recognized American Gaited Horse.

    In 1808 The Royal Portuguese family of Dom Joao the sixth moves to Brazil
    bringing with them a handful of the Alter-Reals gaited horses. The Alter-Reals
    were used in the production of the famous Paso gaited Mangalarga Marchador.

    In 1862 in Petersburg, Tennessee, a blue roan colt was foaled and registered as
    Tom Hal F-20 in the Tennessee Walking Horse Registry.

    In 1891 The American Saddlebred Association is founded.

    1903 marks the year in which most great names in the gaited horse breed become
    significant. IN this year, James R. Brantly purchased a Standardbred colt named
    Black Allen, Mr. Brantly renamed the black colt Allan and used him to stud his
    mares to produce a new breed of gaited horse. Mr. Brantly bred Allan to his best
    mare Gertrude, an American Saddlebred, Morgan, Canadian Pacer cross and the
    resulting foal is the now famous and well known Roan Allan. Another famous
    name produced from this line was Stonewall Allan TWHBEA # 360195

    On May 8th 1941, Sandy’s Sun Sally, foundation dam to all spotted Tennessee
    walkers is foaled. May 1941 also marks the foaling of Allen’s Golden Zephyer,
    TWHBEA # 431975 also known as Trigger Jr.

    History suggests that many historically significant people and events were
    somehow connected to the gaited horse. In many key points in history, gaited
    horses are mentioned as being present. Little known facts marked in history are
    that most kings and knights rode an ambling horse or Palfrey to battles before
    switching to their war horses. Queen Marie Antoinette rode an ambling Palfrey.
    George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Paul Revere, and General Robert E. Lee all
    rode ambling or gaited horses.