The Beauty of the American Saddlebred Horse
The American Saddlebred Horse is also sometimes called The
American Saddle Horse or The Kentucky Saddler. The breed
began in the country's very early days with hardy and easy-
riding "Hobbie" and "Galloway" horses that were brought over
from the UK. Horse breeders in The Colonies began to breed
them with the goal of producing a handsome horse that was
easy to train and good for around use. Their efforts
resulted in the Narragansett Pacer, named for the area in
which it originated, in Rhode Island near Narragansett Bay.
Efforts to develop a unique breed continued with breeders
crossing in English Thoroughbreds and by the time of the
American Revolution the new breed was popular and known as
The American Horse. They often were chosen as the winners at
the horse shows that became popular in the 1800's.
American Horses share the beauty of their English
Thoroughbred ancestors with the easy-riding gaits of the
Narragansett Pacer. They were a great all-around horse,
pulling the carriages of the wealthy or for ladies' pleasure
riding, as well as putting in a good day's work for the
cavalry. Plantation owners loved them for their comfortable
gait, fast coverage of large tracts of land, and the stamina
to handle a day of heavy riding.
Later they were also crossed with Morgan Horses and
Standardbreds, and many American Horses carried pioneers
west. As years went by their popularity only increased and
the breed came to be called the American Saddlebred. Most of
the horses depicted in the statues of great Generals and the
like were American Saddlebreds.
According to the Breed Standard, American Saddlebred horses
have no color restrictions, and the usual height is fifteen
to seventeen hands. The ears should be small and the head
refined, with a long well-arched neck. The withers should be
well above the height of the hips and the body strong and
well-defined. A well conformed American Saddlebred horse is
not only beautiful but very intelligent and people-oriented.
American Saddlebred horses of course share the common horse
gaits of walk, trot and canter, but they also can learn the
stepping pace or slow gait and the rack. This breed is often
called the Peacock of the Show Ring because of its brilliant
and beautiful performances in the show ring. Their strong
conformation and alert and curious personalities make them
excel at all horse events, particularly carriage, dressage
and jumping, and they also have great speed, strength and
Whether you simply want a beautiful, people-oriented riding
horse or you are looking for a real show winner, the
intelligence, style, courage and stamina of the American
Saddlebred should be high on your list for consideration.
More History of the American Saddlebred Horse
In the 18th century, American colonists crossed the
Narragansett Pacer with the Thoroughbred. Known as the
American Horse, this cross was used in the Revolutionary
War, and made its way into Kentucky. In the 1800s, the breed
become known as the Kentucky Saddler. It was used mainly on
plantations because of its comfortable, ground-covering
gaits, and sure-footed manner. It was developed into a very
stylish, fancy horse: beautiful for harness, strong enough
for farm work, fast enough for match races.
In the 1830s, Morgan and Thoroughbred blood was added to
give the more substance and action. This produced the
American Saddlebred. The horse gained popularity in the
1940s. The stallion Denmark, born in 1939, became the
foundation sire, with over 60% of today's Saddlebreds tracing
back to this one horse.
Traveller and General Robert E. Lee
General Robert E. Lee had a Saddlebred named Traveller.
General Ulysses S. Grant and Stonewall Jackson also rode Saddlebreds.
When the American Civil War was over, breeders began promoting
the breed as a show horse, breeding for flash and animation. Many
film television horses were also Saddlebreds, such as Mr. Ed,
Roy Rogers' Trigger, and the Lone Ranger's Silver.
See also: Complete
History of the American Saddlebred Horse