American Saddlebred

Find out about the characteristics, gaits, and use of the American Saddlebred horse.

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American Saddlebred History

The American Saddlebred originated from Galloway and Hobbie horses imported from Britain during the early part of America’s history. These two breeds were crossed to create the Narragansett Pacer, which was crossed to the Thoroughbred in the 1700s to produce the elegant “American Horse,” used for both riding and driving.

A five-gaited American Saddlebred performing at the rack.
A five-gaited American Saddlebred performing at the rack.

Arabian and Morgan blood was later added to create the American Saddlebred.

The American Saddlebred is considered the ultimate show horse. Horses are exhibited in driving, English—most notably saddle seat—and western classes.

American Saddlebred horse in a western pleasure class

American Saddlebred Characteristics:

The American Saddlebred is either three-gaited or five-gaited, which includes the standard gaits and the slow gait and rack. Both gaits are highly animated and elegant. The hooves hit the ground individually in both gaits, but the rack is much faster.

The American Saddlebred must posses an elegant appearance, with bright facial features, a long arching neck and a high-stepping movement. All colors are found, including pinto. Horses stand 15 to 17 hands.

American Saddlebred horse trotting at liberty

For more information:

Further Reading:

Three-gaited American Saddlebred competing in a horse show

This breed profile was originally published on December 15, 2006.

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