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American Saddlebred Horse

Country of Origin: USA

American Saddlebred Horse


Also known as the Kentucky Saddler, this breed was developed in Kentucky as a stylish utility horse for plantation owners of the south. Their easy gait made hours in the saddle easier & their mild temperament made them easy to manage.


The colonization of North America began during the 17th century & colonists that came often brought livestock with them. Foundations for the Saddlebred began with imported Galloway & Hobby Horses brought by British & Irish Colonists. Not only were these animals sturdy, but they were naturally gaited making them easy to ride.

Once in America, these breeds were found to be useful & selective breeding programs began. One of the results was a superior quality animal called the Narraganset Pacer (developed in Rhode Island & Virginia).

Introducing Thoroughbred

As with many North American breeds, the introduction of Thoroughbred blood was inevitable in Saddlebred lineage. The first Thoroughbreds were imported to the American colonies early the 18th century, where they provided a dose of refinement & speed to the Pacers. The result of this mix became its own type, called the American Horse – combining the best elements of both foundation breeds.

War Horse

The American horse was used in the Revolutionary War & afterwards a large number were brought to Kentucky to be used as seed stock. After the war, saddle horses were in high demand in Kentucky & they played a large role in the settlement of the upper Ohio Valley. As they spread, animals from a variety of southern states contributed to their bloodlines.

During the Civil War, their tireless service earned them acclaim as a breed. Confederate animals were almost exclusively of this American-type stock – many of the famous Generals rode American horses into battle.

The Show Ring Dictates

After the Civil War, horse owners began to enter the show ring with their showy saddle horses. Breeding began to change as needs changed, saddle horses didn’t need to be bred strong for battle anymore, breeding priority quickly became refinement for show.

In 1891 the National Saddle Horse Breeders Association was formed, making it the first national association for an American-developed horse breed. In 1899 the organization changed their name to the American Saddle Horse Breeders Association to clarify the breed’s name as the American Saddle horse, rather than just the Saddle horse.

Modern American Saddlebred

After WWI some American Saddlebreds were exported to South Africa & today they are the most popular non-racing breed in the country. During the 20th century the breed has grown even more in popularity & breeding has continued by enthusiasts (including William Shatner) for a variety of purposes from the show ring to pleasure riding.


Average height 15 – 16 hands
Beautiful & stylish
Gaits are easy with a high, true, smooth action


Head is finely chiseled with a lean, smooth jaw
Eyes are bright & set wide apart
Ears are sharp & dainty
Neck is medium & arched
Short, strong backs
Compact body with deep girth
Tail is high set, proudly carried & flowing
Clean, flat-boned & very straight legs
Well-formed feet

Traditional Colors

All colors are acceptable.


Even temper
Willing & intelligent
Smart & obedient
Friendly & gentle



Saddle horses
Show horses
Pleasure riding horses
Work horses

American Saddlebred Products

Helpful Links

*All links open in a new window
American Saddlebred Horse Association
American Saddlebred Horse Association of Canada
American Saddlebred Association UK
American Saddlebred Horse Museum
American Saddlebred Today
American Saddlebreds

Where to Buy

Day Break Farm Saddlebreds
The Long Grey Line Farm
Palomino Saddlebred
Far Field Farm


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Country of Origin: USA | Colors:
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