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Rebecca 12-22-2005 08:46 AM

Saddlebred's have a bad rep'? Why?
Just read Snow-White’s post “Farrier doing good job or no?”
Oh, by the way Snow-White. I thought that farrier was acting like an idiot.

Please tell me about Saddlebreds, and why they have a reputation for being hard to handle.
Or is it just gaited horses that have the bad rep’?

We once owned a Saddlebred filly. She was golden sorrel in color.
We purchased her when she was about nine months old.
She was easy to handle on the ground, easy to train, and a pleasure to ride.
The most she ever offered was a gentle crow hop when she started a lope.
Oh, yes. She was easy to trim too. Lifted her feet up like a little lady.
We sold her when my husband went into his “Quarterhorse Phase”.
Worse decision we ever made.


version1955 12-22-2005 08:51 AM

Rebecca, I'd be interested in that too. I think that Saddlebreds are such handsome animals, so graceful, even standing.

lonearrow 12-22-2005 08:59 AM

In my experience with Saddlebreds (showing for a short time) they seem nervous and high strung. They like that wide-eyed look in the show ring. I know for a fact that some Saddlebred trainers even sedate the horses when being transported in a trailer. They are beautiful creatures for sure. :gaited:

MaggyMae 12-22-2005 09:04 AM

I've wondered about that also. As a kid, my first horse was a saddlebred, 12 years old, that had only been used as a broodmare. We learned to ride together and I loved her and think about her quite often even now....many years later.
She had a lot of "snort and blow" but she was an angel. She wasn't really high-strung as they're said to be, but just really spirited. Flash was good about everything, never offered to kick or bite and was really easy to take care of. I showed her in 4-H for many years and we were the only saddlebred in our western pleasure classes and did quite well. Most people around here prefer Quarters.
I'm thinking now that my "perfect horse" would be a Friesian/Saddlebred cross. :D

LiquidStarlight 12-22-2005 09:09 AM

Maybe it's just another stereotype with horses? Like Arabians are supposed to be crazy, nervous, high-strung. Quarter horses are supposed to be calm, docile, sweet (I have met monstrous QHs by the way). And Thoroughbreds are supposed to be energetic and crazy.

I have met eceptions to every breed, maybe the Saddlebred being high-strung and nervous is just another bad stereotype?

My mom had a Saddlebred mare growing up, and she told me that horse was a doll. Also had very nice gaits :D

Range 12-22-2005 09:11 AM

Breeds get stereotyped by what people see. For instance, TB's are high strung and spooky, Arabs are hot, etc. Saddlebreds in the show ring are high-stepping, wide-eyed, and HOT! People wave plastic bags at them in the ring to get them even hotter with more action. I believe it's all in the way they are bred and trained, just like any other breed.

EquineLaw78 12-22-2005 09:31 AM

As a Saddlebred exhibitor and owner, I think that Saddlebreds are a great breed.

They are bred to have a bit of a "wild-eyed" look and they naturally carry their heads very high. As someone who grew up on hunter/jumpers and gaited horses, the first time I hopped on an ASB show horse (about a year ago,) the headset of the horse alone made me think it was about to explode. When a QH or TWH gets its head that high, you'd better hold on for dear life! But an ASB just carries its head that high at all times. I think the headset alone is what lends the "hot" reputation.

I had an ASB gelding when I was much younger and he was a wonderful kids horse. The horses I have ridden at the barn are very sane. A few of them have some interesting quirks -- some hate to be cross-tied and don't like to be approached from the front -- but for the most part, they have great dispositions. My current horse, Highlander, has great ground and saddle manners.

My experience is that the horses I've been around LOVE to show. They get very excited and hot when they get into the show ring, but I have never had a "crazy" horse. My trainer and barn owner will use fireworks -- not loud ones, but instead those "flowers" that are bright and pretty -- and a bleach jug with gravel in it to get the horses to move bigger and to lift into show ring motion at home. I initially was concerned about that, but the horses aren't terrified of it. They just look and might do a little snorting and blowing. But never are the horses in a panic. In fact, I think that if my trail horses -- a TWH and MFT -- saw that, THEY'D panic!

I am one of the few adult riders at my barn. It swarms with 10 and under girls. They ride ASBs all the time and have a great time. Again, I think because the horses are bred to look hot and for expressive eyes, people assume that they're nuts.

I will say that I had worse luck with my "pleasure" horses being nutty than I've had with my Saddlebred. Neither Highlander nor the lesson horses I rode have ever offered to bolt or to do anything truly dangerous or crazy. I've never experienced any terrible problems with ground manners or barn manners.

While they're very turned on and hot when they anticipate showing, it's always been a "business-like" hot, not a "I'm a freaknut!" hot. ASBs make a very nice pleasure horse, too. I almost bought a pretty pinto mare off of Horsetopia last year. She had been a broodmare and trail horse and lightly shown in the ASB hunter division. As I've mentioned, the biggest difference between her and other trail horses I've ridden is that her head is naturally very high. With other breeds, if you're looking through their ears, they're probably very on edge/spooked about something. It's just the way Saddlebreds ride.

Anyway, I don't think it's fair to characterize an entire breed as hot or nutty. The show horses, when they're not being shown, are relaxed goofballs. They know when to "turn it on!"

If you're interested in a Saddlebred, I heartily recommend the breed!


Snow-white 12-22-2005 09:58 AM

I have been wondering that myself...My mare is certainly alert and aware of goings on around her, but also very intelligent and sweet, and even when she's excited about something she never flies off the handle. Also, if she freaks out, it is just more of a quick flash of resistance not the "will not stop until the halter and crossties are torn off" kind I have had some other horses do.

According to the bad ferrier: "it's nto her fault, they can't help being crazy, that's how they've been bred"

appygurl 12-22-2005 10:07 AM

I don't own a saddlebred but I love how they move, I could watch them run across the pasture all day!

Rebecca 12-22-2005 10:15 AM

I have seen some very nice Saddlebred on Horsetopia.
I think they are a very attractive breed.

It is so odd that a horse would be encouraged to be hyper during a show.
But if that is what the judges are looking for who am I to argue?

I have a Quarterhorse that has a very big (up and down) gait with a lot of movement.
I am not sure what it would be called.
It feels very deep, very high, very deep, very high... and so on.

This gelding also has a somewhat bumpy trot, and a springy lope.
He has a very smooth, and fast run.
He had a choppy walk at times.
But he can smooth down into a long legged fast walk that is very comfortable.

It took a while to mastered the art of riding him (balanced and comfortable).
I now have little problem riding other horses no matter what their gait.

When I am riding around the neighborhood I have often been asked if the QH gelding is gaited.
Are there Quarterhorses that are naturally gaited?

ThorArb 12-22-2005 10:41 AM

The American Quarter Horse is NOT a gaited breed. lol. If your horse gaits, it means he could be partbred, got that gait from one of his parents and is not actually a purebred AQH.

The qh is a stock breed. Raise for ranch work and able to do VERY fast sprints for up to a quarter of a mile, hence their name. They have only the walk, trot, canter and gallop.


horses4sale 12-22-2005 10:43 AM

Just another stereotype!

Sassy 12-22-2005 10:46 AM

My friend has three saddle bred mares, two are full sisters a year apart at 4 and 5 years of age! The third mare is Fancy who is an old style saddle bred mare, so I am told who is 10 years of age. I can see where they would get that reputation. They are high headed and bonucy at the best of times with reguards to their apperance. I believe that is just apart of the bred! Both the younger two sisters are beautiful horses to say the least. Both have receive the same training and care, yet Honey Bee the youngest is wicked high strung and she praces, blows, throws her head and dances all the time. She is very anxious, and I admitt she intimadates me. Yet her full sister Fancy Bee is much clamer and easy going still high headed and struty but with out all the fire of her sister! Fancy the elder mare is also very quiet and easy going yet she can be pretty firery under saddle when her owner asks it of her! All three have that same high lifted head and high struting movements. I think like with any horse bred, it is all in the indivduals personality some are quieter then others! Now I am no expert by any means! Just my opnion! LOL!

ToveroMom 12-22-2005 11:02 AM

If you look back into the QH before it was even a "formalized" is a real eye opener
back in the Cavalry era the Army would buy stallions and ship out to the Remount Stations where the horses were bred and trained for military service.
local farmers could come out for a small fee and breed their ranch horses to these stallions. Back then it was about the only really blooded stock you would find.
The stallions were several breeds-some for the light heavy horses to tow field artillery and some heavy draft breeds for the Quartermaster Corps.
Guess what? :D There were Saddlebreds.Tbreds.Arabs[not many,true] Kentucky Saddlers[before walkers] and Standardbreds Lots of genes introduced to those weedy little ranch mares.
Some of those genes can come down.
Is your horse really gaiting Rebecca or does he just have lots of knee action?
Sorry but like the Tennesse Walkers,the Saddlebreds I have known and grew to appreciate-were NOT the ones sent off for show training.
I think many folks push the whole "animation" thing too far.
Fire extinguishers and fireworks..not my idea of training aids..sorry just MO

TDH 12-22-2005 11:10 AM

I think the Arabs and Saddlebreds have the same kind of stereotyping a lot due to the "hot in the ring" look that some of the classes require. A lot of the same methods are used on both breeds to get them pumped for the classes... and some of them are naturally "hot". But, that's the same for other breeds too that some have a tendency to be that way. But I agree with you others in that it's not a breed thing, it's more in the handling and the training than anything else... although granted, some bloodlines run a bit hotter than others, no different than some lines are better at some things than others.

I've not owned a Saddlebred but I wouldn't be opposed if the opportunity was there! I've never been on a gaited horse so that would be a fabulous experience for me.

Rebecca 12-22-2005 11:11 AM


AQHA horse in question comes from:

Three Chicks, Oh My Oh, Jet Deck, Dark Sin, Rocket Bar, Go Harriett, Tarlo, and Marken Bid.

Sire and Dam of Bicentennial Girl are the last two horses
I know nothing about them.

Is it written in stone that a Quarter Horse cannot be gaited?


ThorArb 12-22-2005 11:19 AM

Ive never met nor heard of an AQHA being gaited. Ive heard of horses being 'taught' to gait... although Ive got no clue as to how you could teach a gait. :lol:

Like ToveroMom said, is there just more 'knee action'? My gelding has more 'action' than desired, and will do this 'jig' when he feels anxious, or ready to go back home from a trail. I once had a woman ask me if he has any Paso Fino in him. :lol: Just the way he carries his head/neck. It was funny. His movements are a little different, but pretty smooth. And by golly is he FAST! :shock:

Breeds are always stereotyped... I have no experience with ASBs so I wouldnt be able to offer any advice on that. I was told by several people though, that the MARES of gaited breeds are often 'witches'. How true that is, I dont know. But I did once own a TWH mare, and she was DEFINITELY a witch! :lol: A blast to ride, but on the ground it was either get on or stay away! No hugs, cuddling or anything with that mare. She meant business!

Im not particular on the 'high' headset of the ASB, but then again, Im a stock horse person and like to stick with my paints, quarters and apps. :lol:


Rebecca 12-22-2005 11:33 AM


"Is your horse really gaiting Rebecca or does he just naturally have
lots of knee action?"

Good question. I don't know. I call only tell how it feels.
We have never video taped him while he was doing it.

I get a feeling sometimes when I am riding Rocky that his training history is long and varied.
Before we bought him he won thousands of dollars as a Barrel Racer.
He has cutting training. And can be cowy at times.
We Team Pen on him, and he has become very good. We have been in the money quite often this last year.
But when I am riding him out on the road he gets these comments.
I am not sure why.
Because I know little about horses that are gaited.
He's been trained to follow a horse at a trot during warm up,
whether he is being led by a lead rope or rein, or not.
He's been taught excellent ground manners, including being ground tied.
And when I ride him during warm up, he can slip into this incredibly deep, high, deep, high gait. It's very even, very steady.
(Sigh) I just don't know.


ToveroMom 12-22-2005 11:39 AM

Try to tape it-love to see it. I would say however that while it could happen-the odds against it are extreme.
the reason I even give it a chance-is that I have seen one-foundation stallion that would do the strangest running walk/gait. More like a Foxtrotter but darn it-he did gait

pasomystic 12-22-2005 04:35 PM

Well, I have owned a Paso Fino and two TWH crosses--so I have ridden some gaited horses--and my QH x TB had the best single foot--so go figure!!

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