Historically referred to as the “Horse America Made.” The American Saddlebred has a long and proud history that can trace its roots to the natural-gaited Galloway and Hobby horses which came to North America from the British Isles. These hardy little horses thrived and grew in the new environment, and through selective breeding the Narragansett Pacer was developed along the eastern seaboard. The Narragansets were crossed with Thoroughbreds imported to America in the early 1700’s, and by the time of the Revolutionary War a horse called simply “the American horse” was a recognized type.
These horses had the size and beauty of the Thoroughbred, but retained the ability to learn the easy riding gaits. These animals were used for riding, to pull carriages and for other work. They were prized for a pleasant temperament, eagerness, strength, and stamina.
During the Civil War, their service earned them acclaim as a breed, and many of the generals, including Robert E. Lee, rode them into battle. As the war ended, horse owners began to enter their saddle horses into the show ring where they became stars because of their beauty, style and utility which was attained from the continual crossing with Thoroughbreds and other breeds including the Arabian and Morgan.
Today, the American Saddlebred is still the ultimate show horse. With its neck arched and ears forward, the Saddlebred continues to dominate the saddle seat disciplines with its elegant and powerful high stepping action and is not only a spectacle of beauty and grace, but also an intense athletic competitor.
In the show ring, American Saddlebreds compete in five primary divisions: Five-Gaited, Three-Gaited, Fine Harness, Park and Pleasure. Each division has its own look and desired traits; however, all strive to meet the model of an ideal American Saddlebred. They are judged on performance, manners, presence, quality and conformation.
Come meet the incredible American Saddlebred – the horse that started America showing horses.
The mount of the Spanish Conquistadors, the Paso Fino, has proud ties to a glorious past and the prospect of an even greater future.
From the Spanish provinces of Cordele and Andalusia, the great explorer Columbus gathered 25 horses for his second voyage to the New World. The Spanish Jennet, which was as well as the ability to pass this gait to its offspring was crossed with the more coarse Spanish barb. The progeny of these horses began to spread through the Caribbean from these re-mount stallions. This breeding gave rise to a breed called “Los Caballos de Paso Fino.” (The horses with the fine walk.)
The Paso Fino Horse reflects its Spanish heritage through its proud carriage, grace and elegance. Modern care and selective breeding have enhanced the Paso Fino’s beauty, refinement and conformation presenting a horse that conveys strength and power without extreme muscling.
The gait of the Paso Fino is totally natural, and is executed with style and grace. This gait is an evenly spaced 4-beat gait with each foot contracting the ground independently in a regular sequence of precise intervals creating a rapid, unbroken rhythm. When executed perfectly the four hoof beats are absolutely even in both cadence and impact. This unique way of going produces a ride that offers unequaled comfort to the rider.
Performed at three speeds; Classic Fino (very slow forward progress with very rapid footfall); Paso Corto (medium extension and speed); Paso Largo (extended stride and ground covering).
Today, the Paso Fino is an exciting and beautiful equine partner. From the show ring to the trail, these intelligent horses are a joy to handle. Come meet the legend – The Paso Fino Horse.
Think of the ultimate driving machine, and you’ll imagine some high-powered sports car. The ultimate driving machines of yesteryear, before the advent of the internal combustion engine, were Hackney horses and ponies. Although Hackneys can be ridden, they were bred and developed for driving. They are the equine equivalent of the Maserati.
They are spirited, energetic, smart and perhaps somewhat high-strung. However, these ponies often have loveable and endearing personalities and enjoy being fussed over.
Hackneys are shown in 3 different divisions, The Roadster, The Hand Pony, and The Harness. These divisions genuinely offer something for everyone.
The Roadster Pony – This very popular and speedy Hackney measures 13 hands (52 inches) or under and shows at three separate trotting speeds: the jog, the road gait, and at speed. The Hackney Roadster ponies are the speedsters of the Hackney breed. They are shown to a two-wheeled road bike with their drivers wearing racing silks.
The Hand Pony – The “In Hand” classes are primarily for weanlings, yearlings and 2-year-olds. Exhibitors compete by lining their pony up to be judged on conformation, then leading it along the rail to be evaluated on performance.
The Harness Pony – Also called the Long Tail, this dynamic high-stepper stands 12.2 hands or under at the withers. The Hackney Harness Pony must be shown with a long mane and an undocked tail. Ponies are to be shown to a four-wheeled vehicle called a viceroy; they are also shown in pairs.
Once you see a Hackney pony’s action and animation, whether in harness or under saddle, you’ll never mistake him for any other breed. As he trots, with a gait called a “park trot,” his knees rise quite high. He’s known as the “aristocrat of the show ring,”