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American Saddlebred

Breed Description:

The Saddlebred is a five-gaited breed. Most Saddlebreds are born with the ability to learn the slow-gait (stepping pace) and the rack.

The American Saddlebred is descended from the Narragansett Pacer, a breed that is technically "extinct" in the United States. In the early 1700s, Narragansett mares were crossed with imported English Thoroughbreds, and their descendants were known simply as the "American Horse." Horses of this type had the size and refinement of the Thoroughbred, but retained the ability to learn the pacing gaits that were the forte of their Narragansett ancestors. American Horses were particularly popular as riding horses, since their smooth gaits made them much more comfortable over long distances.

The American Horse played an essential role in the American Revolution, and by the early 1800s these sturdy horses were prized for their endurance and style. They became particularly popular in Kentucky, which claimed the breed as its own. The addition of Morgan and Standardbred blood helped to further refine the breed, and by the Civil War the American Saddlebred was one of the most popular riding horses in America. General Robert E. Lee rode a racking Saddlebred (Traveller), and so did many other Civil War generals.

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