Official State Horse of Alabama
Many other states have adopted horses as official state symbols: Morgan horse (Vermont and Massachusetts); racking horse (Alabama); Appaloosa (Idaho); thoroughbred (Kentucky and Maryland); Tennessee walking horse (Tennessee); Nokota horse (North Dakota); Missouri fox trotting horse (Missouri): Colonial Spanish mustang (North Carolina); Florida cracker horse (Florida); "the horse" (New Jersey); and the marsh tacky (South Carolina). Horse symbols have been proposed for Oregon (Kiger mustang), and Arizona (Colonial Spanish horse), but have not yet been adopted.
Racking Horse Facts
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.
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.
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 comparison 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.