Check out this video about Saddlebred versatility!
I'll tell you about their people oriented, good natured personalities, athleticism, work ethic, agility, heart, stamina, intelligence, and willingness to step up to whatever is asked. I'll dispel the myths and misconceptions of this breed as "only" a Saddleseat horse - any horse is a product of their environment, handling and training. Saddleseat, eventing, dressage, jumping, combined driving, shooting, endurance, barrel racing, trail horse - I challenge you to find another breed as versatile and capable of excellence in any chosen discipline as The American Saddlebred.
As it is with all breeds - Saddlebreds can end up in dire circumstances. Links are provided below to two wonderful rescues, serving the needs of American Saddlebreds.
Breed History, Saddlebreds Around the World and Versatility photos to come
"They are like beautiful Warmbloods," said Heike Bean, a world class combined driving competitor. Deb Bennet, PhD, in analysing various breed conformations, reported: "For more than 100 years American Saddlebreds have been produced for the purpose of carrying a rider's weight comfortably and efficiently ... I have never seen any Saddlebred horse (or part bred) who did not readily perform the passage ... Most have incredibly comfortable and coordinated canters as well .. I think they are the most neglected of all breeds suitable for dressage. ..... gorgeous shoulders, long, cleanly contoured and well set off from the base of the neck ... they offer a delightful rubbery feel under the saddle ... neck structured beautifully and carried correctly, set at the very top of the shoulder .. loin coiling and engagement easy ... the world's most highly adapted riding horse."
From the ASA of Great Britain website: America's best kept secret. A supreme athlete... has to be seen to be believed. A jack of all trades - being an excellent horse for dressage, jumping, endurance, circus, farm utility, driving...and master of most. For some strange reason this pearl of equine excellence has not been harvested by the sporthorse world.
Saddlebreds have proved themselves over and over at all the regular sport horse traditions. They have represented the USA in dressage, show jumping, eventing, driving and endurance. The world champion Endurance horse for three consecutive years was a pure bred gelding. They have shown themselves worthy participants in polo and hunting and because of their amenable and human-loving temperaments can be relied upon as a family back-yard horse.
Many have found careers in the world of show business and have become household names in that capacity. Flicka, Mr Ed, the original Fury, and many other characters were Saddlebreds. They have appeared in such movies as Gone With The Wind; Gettysburg; Star Trek–Generations, where William Shatner rides his own Great Belles of Fire. Buffalo Bill's favourite trick horse in his Wild West Show was Saddlebred Columbus, who earlier had been in the legendary training hands of Tom Bass.
The athleticism and brain-power that a Saddlebred brings to his relationship with his owner allows him to learn any task required of him. He is not a ‘one job’ horse.
There can be little doubt that the qualities that make this breed the unique stars of the showring, are the very same qualities that can carry them into the annals of sporting history too. It is important that future breeders, trainers and riders do not allow their precious identities to be lost among the throng of other achievers – don't pass them off as Warmbloods; don't let them be thought of as Thoroughbreds. Proudly proclaim, "This sport horse is my special American Saddlebred."
"Saddlebreds' strengths are their lovely temperaments, uphill carriage and excellent bending of their joints. They generally have lots of talent for piaffe and passage. The ones that are the most suitable for dressage are the ones that can perform trot extentions. Most Saddlebreds train very easily," (Hilda Gurney, three-time Olympian, American Saddlebred July/August 2006). Gurney won a Grand Prix Championship in 2005 with Fancy Trick, a Saddlebred/Arab cross her piaffe received a score of 9. Hilda Gurney also trains Magical Creation and Jasluca ridden by Nicole Weston.
Despite common misconceptions, most American Saddlebreds are not naturally gaited, and are happy to restrict themselves to the “usual” gaits. They are active, people oriented, outgoing horses with a “can do” attitude. In build, they are generally uphill, have “big motors” and possess self-carriage. Their “we try harder” attitude makes them a natural for dressage......It is rare Saddlebred that doesn’t love to jump. All of these characteristics make them great choices for the multifaceted challenges of eventing. Chris Uhlinger UMD
"(Saddlebred's are) remarkably free of the foot and leg problems that plague the Thoroughbred and Warmblood breeds....(people would be) hard pressed to think of a discipline in which a Saddlebred cross would not match the breeds traditionally associated with that discipline. This cross produces a more personable and willing horse for the huge number of women riders in North America." David Turner, former directed of the Half-Saddlebred Registry,