During the American Revolution, settlers crossed the Pacer with Thoroughbreds, creating a horse lean and elegant like the Thoroughbred with the smooth, flowing gaits of the Narragansett Pacer. They named the horse simply the American Horse.
The breed's smooth gait allowed farmers to ride for hours in relative comfort. It was also strong and sturdy enough for moderately heavy farm work.
As time passed, more Thoroughbred blood was added, and soon the breed was named the American Saddlebred Horse. In 1891, owners and breeders living in Louisville, Kentucky founded the first breed association designated for an American breed---the American Saddlebred Horse Association.
|Saddlebreds look just as flashy in a harness as they do under saddle.|
Saddlebreds always seem happy, perky, and curious, giving them lots of admirers.
Saddlebreds are most commonly found in the show ring. there, they compete in four primary divisions: Five-Gaited, Three-Gaited, Harness, and Pleasure. Five-gaited, harness, and show pleasure horse are shown with long, full tails that are often set unnaturally high with a device called a tail set. Competitors of the five-gaited are shown with roached manes to accentuate their long and thing arched necks. In the three-gaited classes, Saddlebreds are judged on the three common gaits: walk, trot, canter. Five-gaited horses are judged on the previous three, as well as two other man-made gaits: the slow gait and the rack. The slow gait consists of the horse moving in a prancing motion and lifting the legs very high. A racking horse will move faster than a slow-gaiting horse, covering more ground with each stride and snapping up his hocks and knees. The overall impression of a Saddlebred in the show ring is elegance and grace and a look that seems to say, "Hey! Look at me!"
Throughout history, specifically during the Civil War, several Saddlebreds have been found on the battlefield. Among those are Traveler, Robert E. Lee's mount; Cincinnati, who has ridden by Ulysses S. Grant; and Little Sorrel, Thomas Jonathan Jackson's horse.