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August 15, 2008 | | Comments 2

American Saddlebred Horse

American Saddlebred

American Saddlebred

Riding in Style and Comfort with the American Saddlebred

Another American horse breed to be particularly proud about is the American Saddlebred. Aside from being great performers, horses of this breed are also naturally stunning in the physical sense, earning them the distinction of being peacock horses.

Saddlebred Story

This horse breed has a fairly uncomplicated past. It is perhaps due to its popularity that its nearly three centuries of history is well remembered. Like all other American horse breeds, the true story of this breed begins after the conquistadors and early English settlers reintroduced horses to a horseless North America. The Saddlebred however was not a product of a first generation breeding of the first foreign horses. The breed emerged only in the 1700s when English Thoroughbreds were paired with the locally established Narragansett Pacer. The offspring of the pairings were simply called American Horses.

Early on, the new breed became a sensation in Kentucky. They were found to be an excellent breed for plantation work. At the same time, the natural beauty of the horses as well as their speed and agility made them permanent fixtures in horse shows, fashionable harnesses and race tracks. Eventually, the breed spread to other regions. It was Missouri in particular that set out on an informal competition with Kentucky to produce the best Saddlebreds.

With more breeders competing, the Morgan horse breed was introduced into the breeding of Saddlebreds. This was naturally with the intention of improving the breed. By the 1830s, the Saddlebred was gradually gaining more ground into the hearts and affections of American horse lovers. It was in this decade that improved breeding standards resulted in the birth of Denmark who was to become the foundation horse of majority of today’s Saddlebreds. The horse breed became so popular that several civil war generals and heroes were said to have ridden on Saddlebreds.

Because of the breed’s popularity, it was only a matter of time before breeders organized themselves into a formal body. Work towards a registry and an association began as early as the 1880s and was completed in the following decade. The famed Saddlebred was finally a recognized breed.

Horse Traits

The Saddlebred stands at a good height of 15 hands or a little over 16 hands. Although it is partly descended from the Thoroughbred, it is more refined and less massive. It has a long neck, sloping shoulders, defined withers and long legs. They can come in black, chestnut, bay, pinto, gray and roan among other colors. Although they are sociable and manageable horses, they are also quite showy. They are especially known for their high stepping movement in the show ring. When outside of the ring though, riders can best appreciate the comfortable and steady gait of these horses.

Because of their showiness, these horses were once the undisputed choice for carriages. Today however, with carriages functionally obsolete, Saddlebreds are increasingly used in driving, show rings, dressage and jumping.

The breed continues to be so beloved that there seems to be no danger of it going extinct anytime soon.

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  1. That picture is of a Hackney Pony, not an American Saddlebred.

  2. Thank you for spotting our error. We have corrected the image and a American Saddlebred is now displayed.

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