Saddlebred: In the 18th century, American colonists crossed the Narragansett Pacer with the Thoroughbred. Known as the American Horse, this cross was used in the Revolutionary War, and made its way into Kentucky. In the 1800s, the breed become known as the Kentucky Saddler. It was used mainly on plantations because of its comfortable, ground-covering gaits, and sure-footedness.
It developed into a very stylish, fancy horse that was elegant for harness, strong enough for farm work, and fast enough for match races.
In the 1830s, Morgan and Thoroughbred blood was added to give the breed more substance and action, the resulting horse was the American Saddlebred.
The horse gained popularity in the 1840s. The stallion Denmark, born in 1839, became the foundation sire for the breed, with over 60% of today's horses tracing back to him. One of the most famous Stallions in the horse show world was Wing Commander (1943 – 1969). A six-time World Grand Champion, he became a leading sire for the breed.
General Robert E. Lee had a Saddlebred named Traveller and the Generals, Ulysses S. Grant and Stonewall Jackson also rode this breed. After the American Civil War ended the breed was promoted as a show horse, flashy and having extreme animation, the horse earned the nickname, "The Peacock of the Horse World," considered a term of admiration.
Today, the breed is best known for being a brilliant show horse, high stepping and elegant. The supreme saddlebred is a five gaited horse and along with the standard walk, trot, canter they also perform the ambling gaits known as the slow-gait and the rack. They are shown both under saddle and in harness. Coat colors are usually black, bay, or chesnut, but grays, buckskins, palominos, pintos and occasionally roans are also seen. The average height is 15 to 16 hands, but can range from 14.2 to 17 hands.
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