This misunderstood and little-known breed has both smarts and natural beauty.
The noble American Saddlebred horse originated in the United States during the country's earliest days. It was the mount of choice for many Revolutionary War and Civil War officers, and it is no exaggeration to say that the country was founded upon its back.
In recent years, however, Saddlebreds have gotten a bad rap. Many people don't even know about them, and if they do, they are mistaken for the Tennessee Walking Horse, and criticized for their "exaggerated" gaits.
But the Saddlebred's special movement flows naturally from its breeding, as does its intelligence and willing nature.
The Saddlebred was the officer's mount of choice for many reasons. Saddlebreds are comfortable, intelligent and willing to please; their impressive looks probably didn't hurt, either.
With long, high-set necks and tails, beautiful movement and regal air about them, Saddlebreds may be the most elegant horse breed, and are undeniably the most unique.
While their show gaits are often thought to be exaggerated, the Saddlebred moves just as elegantly when turned loose in a field to play, arching its neck and picking its feet up higher than all other horses. It is the breed's natural conformation that allows for this movement.
Because of its special mixture of intelligence, athletic ability and beauty, the Saddlebred is a versatile horse. Its beauty and spirit makes it well suited to the show ring, competing in saddle seat, western, driving, jumping, and even dressage. It also makes an excellent trail horse due to its intelligence and smooth gaits.
Since the Saddlebred is not as common a breed as the Quarter Horse or Arabian, it may be harder to stumble upon, but when you meet one you will understand how easy it is to fall in love with these special horses.
They may be different, but sometimes different is a good thing.