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Fox Trotting Horse Legislation Signed

Springfield, MO Fansof the Fox Trotting Horse won a victory this past legislative session when lawmakers gave final approval to a bill that makes this breed the official state horse. As KSMU's Missy Shelton reports, the governor came to Ava to sign the bill into law. It's the gait of a fox trotting horse that sets it apart from other breeds. Republican senator Morris Westfall of Southwest Missouri describes it this way:

Westfall and others managed to gain legislative approval this past session for a bill that names the fox trotting horse the official state horse of Missouri.

In the past, opposition from lawmakers who favored other breeds stopped the bill from passing. But supporters like Westfall say they convinced opponents the fox trotting horse deserves the honor. The origins of the fox trotting horse in Missouri go back about 200 years.

J-d strain is the president of the Missouri fox trotting breed association in Ava. The Missouri association is the world's record keeper of registered fox trotters and breeders, serving as many as 8 thousand members worldwide.

That's why governor Bob Holden came to the association's Ava headquarters Tuesday to sign the bill that makes the fox trotting horse an official state symbol.

More than 50 people attended the bill-signing ceremony, including some fox trotting fans from out of state. Among those, 13 year old Eli Lohmann of Centerville, Texas. He says his family raises and sells fox trotting horses in a state where this breed is an oddity.

The bill doesn't go into effect until august 28th.

Lawmakers have already named five other creatures to the status of state symbol, including the honeybee, which is the state insect, the bluebird, which is the state bird and the mule which is the state animal.