The Missouri Fox Trotter is a horse breed from the state of Missouri in the United States. It was developed in the Ozark Mountains by settlers in the early 19th century, and quickly developed into a gaited breed appreciated for its stock horse abilities, stamina and smooth gaits. It performs an ambling gait known as the "fox trot", a four-beat broken diagonal gait in which the front foot of the diagonal pair lands before the hind, eliminating the moment of suspension and increasing smoothness. The main breed registry was begun in 1948 and as of 2012 registers almost 100,000 horses. A European registry was begun in 1992, and as of 2009 recognizes around 600 Fox Trotters living in Europe. In 2006, a smaller registry, focused on the preservation of the original, historic type, was begun in the United States. The Fox Trotter is a mid-sized, muscular breed, used mainly for trail riding and ranch work.
Missouri Fox Trotters are used extensively by trail riders, who appreciate their gaits, stamina and weight-carrying abilities. They are also used in handicapped riding programs, and their smooth gait has proven useful for riders with minor physical disabilities. Crosses between Fox Trotter mares and donkey jacks are often made, creating mules with the fox trot gait that are used to carry hunters and trail riders, especially in the western United States. The US Forest Service also employs Fox Trotters for their speed, stamina and gait, and members of the breed were used to make the first horse-back descent of the north rim of the Grand Canyon.
Musial was born in Donora, Pennsylvania, where he frequently played baseball in both informal and organized settings, eventually playing on the baseball team at Donora High School. Signed to a professional contract by the St. Louis Cardinals as a pitcher in 1938, Musial was converted into an outfielder prior to his major league debut in 1941. Noted for his unique batting stance, he quickly established himself as a consistent and productive hitter. In his first full season, 1942, the Cardinals won the World Series. The following year, he led the National League in six different offensive categories and earned his first MVP award. He was also named an All-Star for the first time; he would be selected to every All-Star Game in every subsequent season he played. Musial won his second World Series ring in 1944, then missed the entire 1945 season while serving with the United States Navy.