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American Saddlebred Breed Guide

The American Saddlebred is a horse known for being charming, extremely intelligent, fun, gentle, and spirited.  As a multi-talented horse, it is commonly used today in dressage, endurance riding, general riding, jumping, mounted athletics, and work activities. Some bloodlines are 5-Gaited – able to not only walk, trot and canter but also to perform two lateral gaits, the Slow Gait and the Rack.


The American Saddlebred Horse traces its history to the naturally gaited Galloway and Hobby Horses from the British Isles. These hardy horses were imported to America with the early settlers, and through selective breeding and crossing with imported Thoroughbreds, the “American Horse” was developed about the time of the American Civil War. These horses had the size and beauty of the Thoroughbred and had retained the ability to learn the easy-riding gaits.

Continual crossing with Thoroughbreds and other breeds gave rise to the American Saddlebred and by the time of the first horse shows (in America, early 1800s) they were frequently judged winners because of their beauty, style and versatility.
To find out more about the history and how the breed was introduced to the UK


american saddlebred

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Standing on average between 15hh and 16hh and weighing between 500-600kg, the American Saddlebred Horse is upstanding with a long arched neck, clean limbs and a fine coat. Those with “gaited” bloodlines tend to be of a slightly heavier build. They carry themselves with a regal bearing and are often upheaded and high-stepping horses.


The American Saddlebred are people-orientated and gentle, but with a willing “can do” attitude. They love to have a job and can sometimes get into mischief when bored, especially at the 2-3 year old stage. They’re very trainable, especially to voice aids, and respond well to considerate and calm aids. They bond very quickly with people they trust and can easily form a one-to-one bond with their owner. Despite their size they are suitable for the youngest to the oldest rider.

Health Considerations

American saddlebred head

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The high stepping action may lead to sidebone and ringbone issues, although this is prevented by good horsemanship and avoiding excessive work or hard ground.

United Saddlebred Association UK

United Saddlebred Association UK

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The Uinted Saddlebred Association UK aims to promote equine welfare and encourage the showing and breeding of the American Saddlebred. You can find out more about the work they do on their website.