The Rocky Mountain Horse was developed in the state of Kentucky. Despite its name, it originated not in the Rocky Mountains, but instead in the Appalachian Mountains. A foundation stallion, brought from the western United States to eastern Kentucky around 1890, began the Rocky Mountain type in the late 19th century. In the mid-20th century, a stallion named Old Tobe, was used to develop the modern type; today most Rocky Mountain Horses trace back to this stallion. He was purchased by Sam Tuttle of Spout Springs, Kentucky from a traveler who had picked up the young colt while passing through the Ozark Mountains on his route eastward from the Rocky Mountain region.
Rocky Mountain Horses stand between 14.2 and 16 hands high. Any solid color is accepted by the registry, but a dark brown color called “chocolate” with a pale, “flaxen” mane and tail is preferred. Although uncommon, this gene has been found in over a dozen breeds, including the Rocky Mountain Horse, Tennessee Walking Horse, Missouri Foxtrotting Horse, and others.