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American Saddlebred Horse: Interesting Facts You May Not Even Have Known

The early descendants of the breed—the Galloway and the Hobbie—arrived in America in the 1700s. The two bloodlines were crossed and produced a new horse called the Narragansett Pacer.

In the same time period, the Thoroughbred horse was brought to the colonies, and its blood line along with that of the Morgan horse was introduced into the Narragansett Pacer.

This new breed was referred to as the American Horse and was lauded because they “regained the easy gaits and stamina of the Narragansetts but added the Thoroughbred’s size and quality.”1 Let's continue to trace their history as more bloodlines were added to the foundational horses.

What Is an American Saddlebred Horse

The founding stallions of the line are Denmark F.S. (1839), Gaines Denmark, and Harrison Chief (1991) and the descendants are known as the Denmark family and the Chief family.

Both families can be traced back eight generations to a Thoroughbred named Blaze and the establishment of the breed.

These showy horses are also known as “the horse America made,” “jewel of a breed,” and “the peacock of the horse show.”

One has only to admire their proud stance with heads held high and high stepping through their trademark five gaits to appreciate the appropriateness of these nicknames.

Signature Features of American Saddlebred Horses

American Saddlebred horses stand about 15 to 16 hands tall (60 to 64 inches) and weigh approximately 1100 pounds. While all coat colors are acceptable for this breed, the most common colors are chestnut, bay, brown or black.

What distinguishes these steeds? For starters, they have an extremely acute sense of hearing, high intelligence, excellent personalities, and a smooth riding or driving gait. These horses walk, trot, canter, slow gait, and rack in high-stepping style.

From the flat-footed walk to the showy rack (transferring weight from one leg to another while prancing), watching this graceful horse go through its paces is comparable to watching highly trained ballerinas.

The breed is used today for dressage where the horse is trained to perform the various moves and the rider demonstrates his control of the animal. They are also popular as show jumping, cross country jumping, show hunting, trail riding, and parade mounts. The average auction price for an American Saddlebred horse is $3,500.

Celebrity Owners of American Saddlebred Horses

William Shatner owns and breeds American Saddlebred Horses.

William Shatner owns and breeds American Saddlebred Horses.

Celebrities Who Own American Saddlebred Horses

Let’s take a look at some of the celebrity owners of this popular breed:

  • William Shatner – owns, breeds, and rides his American Saddlebreds in competitions
  • Misdee Wrigley Wright (of Wrigley’s Gum) – owner, breeder, first Vice President of the American Saddlebred Horse Association
  • Elizabeth Goth (Dow Jones) – owner

Now that you know more about the American Saddlebred Show horse, you might be interested in acquiring one. Did you know horses can be leased rather than purchased outright?

There are many of these horses available for sale, lease, or rescue. A good place to start your research is with the American Saddlebred Horse Association, or the Saddlebred Rescue organization.

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Read More About Horses and Horse Breeds


1 - American Saddlebred Horse Association,

Horses and Horse Information, "The American Saddlebred Horse,"


Share Your Opinions & Experiences With American Saddlebred Horses

KENIAN Tiner on April 24, 2015:

Good job keep working on this.

Donna Cosmato (author) from USA on February 02, 2012:

Thank you so much for reading and commenting on this hub, Flickr. It's always nice to hear positive feedback:

Flickr on February 02, 2012:

Very informational thanks for sharing.

Donna Cosmato (author) from USA on December 09, 2011:

Hi Gyspy Willow, nice to hear from you about this hub. They do look impressive prancing around the ring, don't they? While I have never had the pleasure of riding a horse, seeing these high setting beauties makes me want to try it:)

Gypsy Willow from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand on December 09, 2011:

These horses are certainly spectacular. Riding one must be an amazing experience. Perhaps, one day.....

Donna Cosmato (author) from USA on December 09, 2011:

Thank you, Donna! I'm glad you enjoyed this hub on the American Saddlebred horse. I'm a firm believer in helping rescue animals whenever possible:)

Donna Sundblad from Georgia on December 09, 2011:

Great hub. Thanks for mentioning rescues as a source to find the right horse. There are many good horses out there waiting for a good home.

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