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Alabama State Horse

Champion racking horse - click to see animal symbols for all 50 states
Racking horse multi-champion American Idol at the 2007 Shelbyville
Racking Horse Championship - photo © Jamie McCoy Photography
(used by permission). See All State Animals - Mammals

Racking Horse

Racking horse video

Alabama designated the racking horse as the official state horse in 1975 (see Racking Horse video below). Legendary for its beauty, intelligence, stamina, and calm disposition, the origins of the racking horse date back to the birth of our nation. The horse's popularity grew on the great southern plantations when it was learned how versatile the breed was and that it could be ridden comfortably for hours. Alabama also recognizes an official state championship horse show.

Similar to the Tennessee walking horse (in fact, racking horse origins are deeply rooted in walking horse bloodlines), the racking horse has a smooth, natural gait and is very strong (able to sustain a rapid pace for long periods). The "rack" of a racking horse is neither a pace nor a trot, but a bi-lateral four-beat gait which is often called a "single-foot" because only one foot strikes the ground at a time . The racking horse should not be confused with the "rack" that is an artificially achieved gait achieved with special training in other breeds.

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Attractive and gracefully built with a long sloping neck, full flanks, smooth legs, and finely-textured hair, the racking horse is considered a "light" horse in comparision to other breeds, averaging 15.2 hands high and about 1,000 pounds (a "hand" is four inches). Colors may be black, bay, sorrel, chestnut, brown, gray, yellow , or spotted. The racking horse is famous for an extremely comfortable ride and unusual friendliness to humans.

A group of Alabama businessmen formed a corporation and initiated the legal maneuverings that were necessary to designate this horse as a distinct breed. In 1971 the USDA recognized the Racking Horse Breeders' Association of America, thereby allowing a registry to be established to perpetuate the racking horse breed.

Horses are official state symbols in 14 states

14 states have adopted state horse symbols; Vermont and Massachusetts: morgan horse; Alabama: racking horse; Idaho: Apaloosa horse; Kentucky and Maryland: thoroughbred horse; Tennessee: Tennessee walking horse; North Dakota: Nokota horse; Missouri: fox trotting horse, North Carolina: colonial Spanish mustang; Florida: Florida cracker horse; New Jersey: "the horse;" South Carolina: marsh tacky; and Texas: American Quarter horse. Horse symbols have been proposed by Oregon (Kiger mustang), and Arizona (colonial Spanish horse), but have not yet been adopted.
 

   
Source:
Official Alabama State Horse: Alabama Archives & History
Breeds - History of the Racking Horse: Oklahoma State U
Racking Horse Breeders' Association of America: RHBAA
Links:
State Animals - Mammals: 50 States List
Alabama Championship Horse Show

    

 

Alabama Symbols & Icons:

bird - game bird 
mammal - horse show
marine mammal - horse
fish-marine fish
reptile-amphibian
butterfly-insect
flower-shell
wildflower-soil
fruit -nut - spirit
tree-tree fruit
gemstone-rock
fossil-mineral
  

flag - seal
coat of arms
name - motto
nicknames
dance - quarter
song-poets
theatre - bible
drama-musical
museum
quilt - creed
fair- tournament
championship

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