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The American Saddlebred is a specific breed of horse linked inexorably to the United States of America. With the Morgan, it is one of the only true breeds unique to America.

The Saddlebred is a Show Horse noted for its conformation, and its unique gaits: the slow gait and the rack.

The American Saddlebred Horse carries himself with an attitude that eludes description - some call it class, presence, quality, style or charm. This superior air distinguishes his every movement.

The ideal American Saddlebred is well-proportioned and presents a beautiful overall picture. The animal should be in good flesh, with good muscle tone and a smooth, glossy coat. Masculinity in stallions and femininity in mares are important. The average height is 15 to 16 hands and the average weight is 1,000 to 1,200 pounds. All colors are acceptable; the most prominent are chestnut, bay, brown and black, with some grey, roan, palomino and pinto.

The slow gait is a four-beat, broken lateral gait. The footfalls for the slow gait are the same as the walk. Each foot rises from the ground and hesitates in the air. The slow gait is restrained, executed with extreme collection and with impulsion from the hind-quarters. The hind legs are placed well underneath the horse and the forehand is elevated.

The rack is a four-beat gait with the same footfall pattern as the walk, and may be considered a faster version of the slow gait, with the footfalls occurring at rapid, even intervals. The faster a horse can rack, while staying in good form, the better. Speed, while forsaking form, is not acceptable.

Saddlebred's fall into the following categories

gleamed from a lifetime of family showing and various online sources

Actually, the American Saddlebred is spreading to other countries. The UK has a Saddlebred Association, as does Africa. I believe Austrailia does also, and I know there are Saddlebreds living there.

Africa actually has a very active Saddlebred breeding program and they produce some very nice horses, such as Arborlane Tango's Wee Pee, who was Fine Harness World's Grand Champion, IIRC, and is a very popular and respected sire.

I'd also like to note that Saddle Seat Equitation is open to any age amatuer, though classes are always divided by age. 18 & Over Equitation classes are very common at horse shows these days, and the National Championship Pleasure Horse Show has created a new Pleasure Equitation Olympics Division for Adult Riders. 2001 is the first year this class will be held.

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