History Of The American Saddlebred Horse

The American Saddlebred was developed in Kentucky, USA in the 19th Century by plantation owners who desired a horse which was comfortable to ride, elegant and superior to look at. Its origins go back to the importation of the Old English Ambler (now extinct) from Britain and the English Thoroughbred. The Ambler was taken to the New World by pioneers and in the Narragansett Bay region it was developed into a slightly bigger, more refined type of horse by selective breeding and became known as the Narragansett Pacer. Later after the Thoroughbred found its way to America colonialists crossed the Narragansett with the Thoroughbred and produced the Saddlebred, known at that time as the American Saddle Horse. Its name was changed later to Kentucky Saddler, and then with the formation of the American Saddlebred Horse Association Inc in 1891 - the first horse breed registry in the USA - was renamed American Saddlebred in honour of its National Breed status.

From its Thoroughbred ancestry the Saddlebred has inherited the trot, a gait on which it has improved tremendously. From its Ambler ancestry it has retained the ancient ability to 'amble' which it has refined into two extra gaits, the Slow Gait and the Rack. Both are 'ambling' gaits in that they progress with one foot on the ground at a time, in a four-beat rhythm giving a smooth seamless ride. The Slow Gait is not slow but travels at about 20-25 mph; the Rack in the region of 35 mph. Both exhibit excellent high knee motion. Most Saddlebreds inherit a splendid walk, very snappy and fast - 6-8 mph.

Height Of The American Saddlebred Horse

The American Saddlebred Horse stands 15 to 16.2 hh.

Colour Of The American Saddlebred Horse

American Saddlebred horses are predominantly chestnut in all its shades, but also exist in brown, black, bay, palomino, pinto and grey.

Breed Characteristics Of The American Saddlebred Horse

The American Saddlebred has a narrow refined head with large honest eyes, long upright neck, deeply sloping athletic shoulders, good deep barrel, strong hindquarters with level croup, long refined legs. The tail and neck are carried high, with good natural poll flexion. The American Saddlebred has a high stepping motion with powerful springy hocks.

Temperament Of The American Saddlebred Horse

The American Standardbred horse is alert, intelligent, eager and gentle, but can also be fiery.

Uses Of The American Saddlebred Horse

The American Saddlebred is used in the USA primarily as a show horse where it has created its own style of show ring entertainment and presentation; but American Saddlebreds can be used for any discipline. They have excelled in show jumping, dressage, endurance, carriage driving and as family riding horses.