American Saddlebred

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American Saddlebred
Important data
Origin: United States
Main breeding area: USA, Canada, South Africa
Distribution: Mainly in the breeding areas
Stick measure : 151-163 cm
Colors : Foxes, bay horses and black horses
Main application area: Driving, riding and show horse

The American Saddlebred , or American Saddle Horse , (formerly also known as the Kentucky Saddler ) is a gaited horse . Originally intended as a practical all-rounder, today it is mainly bred for shows, with great emphasis on the brilliance of the presentation.

Background information on horse evaluation and breeding can be found under: Exterior , interior and horse breeding .


The American Saddlebred is an elegant horse. The large, dry head has small ears. The neck is set high, long and shows a strong erection. The shoulder is long and sloping, the chest broad. The withers are well defined and should be higher than the croup . The back is strong and turns into a straight, short croup. The tail is long and set high. The foundation is light, the legs are well muscled, the pasterns are long and elastic.

American Saddlebreds are known for their particularly high, spectacular leg action, which is also reinforced by the often extra long toes .

In order to create a particularly high tail posture, American Saddlebreds, which are shown in shows, sever the muscles on the underside of the tail , which causes the horse to carry its tail particularly high. This procedure is called "nicking". In order to prevent the severed muscles from growing together again, a kind of cuff is strapped around the tail of the horse in the stable. This practice is banned in many European countries. In eleven US states it is not permitted or only permitted with certain conditions.

Breeding history

The breed can be traced back to the imported riding and driving horses of the early American settlers, who further developed them through systematic refinement. With the introduction of suitable multi-purpose horses ( hobbies , Galloways ) introduced by the English in the 16th century , the first systems for the corridors were created . Later, the American Saddlebred with Narragansett Pacer and Canadian Pacer were supplemented with refinements with thoroughbred and Morgan blood, whereby the natural disposition for different gaits of Narragansett Pacer and Canadian Pacer (five-gaiter with high knee action) proved to be helpful, especially with gaits like 4 -Takt-Tölt, Slow Gait and Rack. Through strict selection for easy gaits and endurance, an ideal riding horse was bred in the colonies of Kentucky and Virginia , which can also be used for light agricultural work or in front of the wagon. The most important bloodlines originated from the stallions Tom Hale (born 1810, Narragansett Pacer) and Gaines Denmark (born 1851, English thoroughbred). Through the use of the thoroughbred, the versatile Kentucky Saddler developed into an elegant riding horse that enjoys movement.


In addition to the basic gaits of walk, trot and canter, the American Saddlebred also has the slow gait and rack gaits. These two gears create a variation in the speed of the tölt. While the slow gait includes a rather slow pace with high gathering, the rack is fast and with a lot of action.

See also

Web links

Commons : American Saddlebred  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Breeding program for the American Saddlebred Horse breed of the Rheinisches Pferdestammbuch eV (PDF) In: Rheinisches Pferdestammbuch eV p. 4 , accessed on April 15, 2020 .
  2. ^ Maria Costantino: Handbook of horse breeds . Bassermann Verlag, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-8094-1773-4 , p. 127 .
  3. EQUUS (Ed.): Tail alteration: "nicking" . No. 54 , May 1, 2017 (English).
  4. Saddlebred FAQs. (PDF) In: US Equestrian. Retrieved April 15, 2015 .
  5. Kate Hepworth-Warren: The truth about tail blocks. In: EQUUS Magazine. March 25, 2019, accessed April 15, 2020 .
  6. ^ Breed History. In: American Saddlebred Horse Association. Retrieved April 15, 2020 .
  7. The American Saddlebred Horse. In: International Gaited Horse Association. Retrieved April 15, 2020 .
  8. Scott D. Bennett: Lameness in the American Saddlebred and Other Trotting Breeds with Collection . In: Michael W. Ross, Sue J. Dyson (Eds.): Diagnosis and Management of Lameness in the Horse . Saunders, St. Louis 2011, ISBN 978-1-4160-6069-7 , pp. 1189-1190 (English).