PARTNERS FOR THE RIDE
- About The American Saddlebred
- Young Adult
- Sport Horse / Vesatility Program
Historically referred to as the “Horse America Made,” the American Saddlebred has a long and proud history that can trace its roots to the natural-gaited Galloway and Hobbie horses which came to North America from the British Isles. These hardy little horses thrived and grew in the new environment, and through selective breeding the Narragansett Pacer was developed along the eastern seaboard. The Narragansetts were crossed with Thoroughbreds imported to America in the early 1700s, and by the time of the Revolutionary War, a horse called simply “the American horse” was a recognized type. Discover the history of this breed.
These horses had the size and beauty of the Thoroughbred, but retained the ability to learn the easy-riding gaits. These animals were used for riding, to pull carriages and for other work. They were prized for a pleasant temperament, eagerness, strength and stamina.
During the Civil War, their service earned them acclaim as a breed, and many of the Generals, including Robert E. Lee rode them into battle. As the war ended, horse owners began to enter their saddle horses into the show ring where they became stars because of their beauty, style and utility which was attained from the continual crossing with thoroughbreds and other breeds including Arabian and Morgan.
Today, the American Saddlebred is still the ultimate show horse. With its neck arched and ears forward, the Saddlebred continues to dominate the saddle seat disciplines with its elegant and powerful high-stepping action and is not only a spectacle of beauty and grace, but also an intense athletic competitor. In the show ring, American Saddlebreds compete in five primary divisions: Five-Gaited, Three-Gaited, Fine Harness, Park and Pleasure. Each division has its own "look" and desired traits; however, all strive to meet the model of an ideal American Saddlebred. They are judged on performance, manners, presence, quality and conformation. Discover the American Saddlebred disciplines and uses.
In addition to the animated style and brilliance in the show ring, the Saddlebred’s willing attitude has made it a versatile breed allowing it to excel in other disciplines including dressage, combined driving and jumping.