PARTNERS FOR THE RIDE
- About The American Saddlebred
- Young Adult
- Sport Horse / Vesatility Program
Discipline and Uses
The American Saddlebred is an incredibly versatile breed. Their mental acuteness and willingness to learn is key to the success of the breed in three day eventing, hunter on the flat, combined driving, and of course saddle seat. As of late, the saddlebred is becoming very popular in three day eventing where horse and rider compete in show jumping, cross country, and dressage. The three day eventing horse needs to be athletic and intelligent. The hunter horses tend to carry their heads lower and have a flatter, more relaxed movement in comparison to the saddle seat show horses. Combined driving is also a discipline where the American Saddlebred excels. Teams of horses are driven through obstacle courses from beginner levels to advanced by a single driver. Driving horses have to be fearless and powerful, the epitome of a great athlete. Every horse is an individual with talents of their own, which makes the American Saddlebred a perfect fit in many disciplines.
Perhaps the most popular and well known discipline for these horses is called saddle seat. The horses that are to become show horses in this discipline are perfect examples of the classic American Saddlebred. They are high headed, high stepping, animated animals that are incredibly exciting to watch. There are several divisions in the saddle seat discipline which allow each horse’s talent to shine through.
The pleasure division requires the horse to be mannerly and the rider to be in control at all times. Pleasure horses are required to perform three gaits in the show ring: flat walk, trot, and canter. The judge will also ask the horses to back in the line-up, which demonstrates their pleasurable mentality. Horses in this division are shown with full manes and long tails.
Three gaited horses have a distinct look brought on by their roached (shaved) manes to highlight the long and elegant neck trademarked by the American Saddlebred. These horses are highly animated and incredibly elegant in their movements. During a show the horse and rider are required to trot, canter, and come down to an animated walk. Although they do not have a mane, the tail of the horse should be full and flowing. Three gaited horses are highly judged on confirmation as well.
Five gaited horses are perhaps the most exciting to watch. Along with the three natural gaits of the horse, five gaited horses also slow gait and rack. Both of these man made gaits are a four beat gait and incredibly smooth for the rider. Horses that show in this division are energetic, powerful and elegant at the same time. They are shown with a full mane and long tail.
Fine harness horses are shown in a four-wheeled cart with a driver in control. These horses are perhaps the most animated of the show ring, and they only perform a trot and animated walk. Harness horses are especially elegant and almost float through the air. Drivers are able to wear long dress and suits, different from the tradition saddle seat habit. These horses are shown with a full mane and lush tail.