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Why We Love the American Saddlebred

So almost any person you ask will tell you they have a favorite dog breed. They can tell you what they love about the breed, whether it’s the breed’s look, personality, or possibly brings nostalgia because they grew up with it. Similarly, to dogs, there are many horse breeds that boast different looks, personalities, and athletic abilities. There are so many great breeds of horses and just like dogs, there is not a one size fits all. However, we have found that the American Saddlebred fits most.

History of the Breed:

Believe it or not, this breed dates back to the 1800s when it was the Kentucky Saddler. As a combination of the Thoroughbred and Trotting Horse breeds, the crosses became more and more uniform. By 1891 the American Saddle Horse Breeders Association officially developed the breed. Originally used as modes of transportation because of their smooth gaits, they eventually evolved into becoming show horses. Popular at county fairs, the American Saddlebred was formed to be an exciting and captivating horse that people came from miles around to cheer on.

Personality of the Breed:

The Saddlebred is an expressive horse that is keenly aware of its surroundings. This, by nature, generally makes them very curious. They are quick to come to the front of the stall when you approach. Saddlebreds are energetic, and often eager to work and show.

Disciplines that the Breed Does:

The Saddlebred is a breed that can quite literally do it all; they compete in Saddleseat, Hunt Seat, Western, Ranch Riding, Hunter-Jumpers, Eventing, Dressage, and Endurance.


Also known as balanced riding, this is the primary discipline for Saddlebreds due to their confirmation. Saddlebreds have high necks and ground covering motion. In Saddleseat, the rider sits in a flat saddle that allows the rider to “get out of the horse’s way” and show them off. There are many different divisions within the Saddleseat industry. Some Saddlebreds that show in Saddleseat are also five-gaited and can perform a slow-gait and rack. They say “once you rack, you never go back!”

Pictured above is a Saddlebred showing in the 3 gaited division. This division emphasizes elegance and expression of the horse.

Hunt Seat

Hunt Seat is a common stye of English riding in many breeds. Some Saddlebreds are built with a slightly lower headset than others and this is a great discipline for them.

Picture above is a Saddlebred winning the hunt seat finals in St. Louis


Western in the Saddlebred world may be slightly different than western pleasure with a lower-headed and slower breed such as a Quarter Horse but it is just as relaxing and fun. Saddlebreds were bred to have smooth gaits, so some of them excel in the western pleasure division!

As you can see, the horse above is in Western show tack which has a lot of silver!

Ranch Riding

New to the Saddlebred world, this division takes western riding to its roots. Ranch riding does not boast fancy clothes and tack, but is truly about showcasing the usability of this smart breed. At shows, ranch riding does rail-work, trail, and a pattern.

Notice that this horse is not in a lot of fancy silver like the other western horse. Ranch riding horses are shown in “work” tack. This means saddles you would actually use on a ranch!

Jumping and Eventing

Many people don’t know that Saddlebreds can indeed jump! Many Saddlebreds that aren’t built for the “show world” in the Saddleseat industry, go on to be great sport horses! Their eager to please attitude, makes them a great companion. Eventing is a discipline that combines cross-country jumping, stadium jumping, and dressage. It takes a true athlete (both two and four legged) to be competitive. Recently, people have found the Saddlebred to be a great candidate for this fun discipline!

This is a Saddlebred eventing. This part of jumping is called Cross Country!


Dressage is a beautiful discipline to watch. This technical discipline makes every movement of the horse look effortless. With their balanced movement and beautiful flair, the Saddlebred is a great candidate for this!

Here the horse is executing a dressage test, in which the rider and horse perform different movements in a pre-memorized pattern.


Endurance riding is for those persistent riders who just can’t leave the saddle! These long distance races can be any distance, often over 25 miles. Saddlebreds love to work!

This Saddlebred is effortlessly scaling this mountain!

Where do I find a Saddlebred and how do I get started?

Whatever discipline you choose, there is an American Saddlebred waiting for you. Look for nearby barns and find a barn family to help you find the perfect one. We suggest using the breed’s official website, www.asha.net to find out more about what the American Saddlebred can do for you!

Source used for pictures and content: www.asha.net

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