Certification Requirements of the Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse

Breed Standards for the Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse

Foals by a Certified Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse stallion and out of a Certified Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse mare can be registered with a Temporary Certificate of Registration. This is done by submitting a completed application for registration along with four pictures showing front, back and each side, and the Breeder's Certificate prepared by the stallion owner at the time the mare was bred. If no Breeder's Certificate is available, an affidavit stating the information requested on a Breeder's Certificate and signed by the stallion owner will be accepted.

Once a horse is "under saddle" and before it produces any offspring, it must be certified. Before a horse can be certified, DNA or Blood analysis must be on file with the University of Kentucky and that analysis must confirm parentage if the sire and/or dam listed on the certificate is registered KMSHA. No horse, whether stallion, mare, appendix mare or gelding, may be shown under saddle in a KMSHA sanctioned show until it has been certified.

Click below to access the following information on certification:

  • Characteristics

  • Video Tape Guidelines

  • A Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse or Spotted Mountain Saddle Horse may be certified if it displays the following characteristics:

    1. Show evidence of a gentle temperament and a willing disposition. This evidence must be observed by two licensed Examiners or shown on a video tape submitted to the office at the time application for Certification is made. Any horse that displays a temperament that is unruly or unmanageable will not be eligible for Certification.

    2. Demonstrate a smooth, comfortable and natural four beat gait (with four distinct hoof beats) under saddle.

    3. There are two size categories of the KMSHA/SMHA.  At maturity a horse must stand 14 hands or above in order to qualify for a Class A registration.  Class B registrations are for horses 11 hands to 13.3 hands at maturity.  No horse can be registered KMSHA or SMHA if at maturity it stands less than 11 hands.  All measurements are to be measured on a perpendicular at a point where their neck joins the body.  In finding that point the head and neck should be raised at the throat latch, pushing toward the back of the body, to produce a tuck in the neck and should not be in a relaxed position.  There is no upper height limit.

    4. (click for Breed Standards/Registration) Horses must meet the required standards as specified, have a medium build, not too coarse and not too fine, with medium feet and head and a proportional body, hind and legs. No draft-type horses shall be registered or certified.

    5. Any solid body color is acceptable with white markings being limited to the face, the legs and an area on the belly that is behind the breast bone and under the ends of the rib cage not to exceed 36 square inches.

    6. Certification paperwork must be completed in full. Horse submitted on Certification application must have been transferred and be in the name of the "current owner" of record. Current owner of record must be a "member in good standing with the KMSHA".

    7. Requirements for Permanent Registration "Certification" (in addition to the above) please submit:  Temporary Registration Certificate, Video or two Licensed Examiners signatures required, plus 5 photos: back, front, both sides, under chin.  DNA is required to be on file with the University of Kentucky for "Proof of Identity".

    8. Permanent Registration:  All KMSHA and SMHA Horses must be certified to breed by their fourth birthday.  Temporary registration certificate will expire on any KMSHA/SMHA 4 year old horse who is not certified as of December 31, 2006 and thereafter on their fourth birthday. If the registration papers have expired on any horse due to this directive, new papers will  be issued only upon completion of official Certification of each horse. This applies to all Stallions, Mares and Geldings and will certify that they have now met the "Standard of the Breed".
    9. Certification application should be submitted and checks be made payable to the KMSHA,  P. O. Box 1405, Georgetown, KY 40324.

    To Certify your horse by video, you should do the following with the horse:

    1. Show it leading with a halter, without a saddle, in a 30 foot circle in both directions (clockwise and counter clockwise). Record in good light, but avoid positions that throw shadows on the part being recorded. Hold the camera steady, have the handler of the horse turn the horse as needed rather than the operator of the camera moving about the horse. Time - one minute of record time.

    2. Show the horse at four angles standing (a) front view; (b) right side; (c) rear view: (d) and left side. Be sure to record a FULL-BODY view of each side. Zoom in for a closeup of the face. Pull the forelock aside for a full view of the forehead. Zoom down the neck and chest and legs to the feet. Zoom in on the rear, pull tail aside, and move down the legs to the feet. Zoom in on the shoulder and move down legs to the feet, showing all markings if any are present. When recording close-ups, especially of markings, PAUSE long enough to allow recording of the markings part completely.

    3. Record picking up the horse's foot and show closeup, and show, if shoed, the kind of shoe it has on.

    4. Saddle up the horse, mount (record horse and rider as the horse is being mounted) and ride for at least two minutes (more as needed) to show gait as observed from the right/left sides; moving straight away from the camera and straight back toward the camera. Don't ride the horse in grass too high to see or hear the hoof beats At times, the video must be reviewed in slow motion to evaluate the gait, so the feet must be seen.

    5. Ride the horse on a road or hard surface to hear the hoof beat cadence, record closeup of feet and legs in action. By riding on a hard surface, it will be easier for the person reviewing the tape to see and hear clearly the hoof beats.


    Suggestions: If available, use a tri-pod to help stabilize the camera to avoid shaking or wobbling of the film's picture. If you do not use a tripod, the camera operator should not walk around or move so much that the resulting pictures are too shaky for accurate evaluation. Talk while doing the video, be sure to say the horse's name and describe the horse and what you are showing on the film. This is especially important if you have more than one horse on the video.

    Before mailing it to the KMSHA office, please review the tape to be sure that everything is included and can be viewed clearly. In case you have made a 'camera' error, you can reshoot the tape. We have received videos that were completely blank, or videos where the camera operator thought the camera was on pause when it was actually recording, or vice versa. Happy Recording!