Saddlebred of today is described as follows:
popular for pleasure, riding, driving, as a hunter or jumper,
parade horse, cow horse, as well as a show horse. The
natural gaits are the walk, trot, and canter, as well as the
learned gaits of slow gait and rack. They are a good size,
well-formed substantial feet, clean flat-boned legs, a short
back with smooth loin, a compact body deep through the heart and
barrel, ribbed close to the hips which should be well-muscled
with full quarters and high level croup and a big flowing tail
coming out high and carried straight. The neck should be
medium to long, nicely arched, fitting onto the head correctly
with a fine small throat latch. The neck should also fit
properly into a sloping shoulder. The withers should be
prominent and not too beefy. The breast should be wide,
with the legs coming out of the corners with plenty of width
between them, and should be set on the feet straight, and have
true, straight, high smooth action. The pasterns should be
long with a spring action.
is the product of generations of selective breeding and it is
highly doubtful if the ancestors of the breed could have met any
such qualifications. However, the Saddlebred like the
Tennessee Walking horse owes it existence to the great families of
horses from the colonial days. Such horses were the TOM
HALS, SQUIRRELS, EAGLES, WHIPS, PILOTS and COPPERBOTTOMS.
Just as the Walking Horse Association would do in 40 years, the
Saddle Horse Association studied the families of colonial stock
and selected their foundations sires from those that had already
proven their worth, regardless of the bloodlines. Among the
bloodlines which later played an important role in the development
of the Walking horse, were the Diomed son, Sir Archy, who sired
TIMOLEON and STUMP THE DEALER, HARRISON'S CHIEF, and LEVIATHAN.
JOHN DILLARD was a cross between the CHIEFS and the WHIPS.
Although the pedigrees of VARNON'S ROEBUCK and COPPERBOTTOM are
unknown, the blood from these horses was a very potent factor in
the foundation of the Walking Horse.
the Denmark son, GAINES' DENMARK, foaled in 1851, that set
the Saddlebred on its course to excellence. One of Gaines'
Denmark's prominent sons, DIAMOND DENMARK, was out of a mare
by BALD STOCKINGS, the first horse known to do a running
The Denmarks were eventually crossed in 1880 to the
CHIEF clan, which traces to the famous Thoroughbred,
MESSENGER, who became the foundation Sire of the Standardbred
breed. The main sire from the Chief family was
HARRISON'S CHIEF, who later established a family of Walking
horses in Middle Tennessee.
By 1908, all the foundation sires of the American Saddlebred
were eliminated with the exception of DENMARK, due to the
overwhelming percentage of registered American Saddlebred colts
that traced to him. Even though Denmark was the foundation
stallion for the American Saddle Horse breed, and contributed to
other American breeds, including the Tennessee Walking horse, he
was not easy-gaited. It was the "Stevenson" or "Cockspur"
mare, tracing directly back to the Narragansetts, when bred to
Denmark who brought the easy gaits to their foal. This
cross brought together the beauty, finish, and hot blood of his
sire, and the hereditary and acquired Saddle qualities of his
study of the Tennessee State Fair winners of the early
1900's reveals the influence of
GIOVANNI family which represented the last significant
outcross of blood into the Tennessee Walking Horse.
This one-eyed, black Kentucky Saddle Horse stallion by
Dandy Jim II (1531 ASR), by Macdonald Chief was brought to
Tennessee by Henry Davis in 1914. He was described
as a fine black, about 15.3 hands, who sired some of the
best looking and most durable Walking horses ever seen at
that time. He lived to be 38 years old, and died in
1940. His most significant contribution to the
Tennessee Walking Horse breed was to sire Wiser's Dimples,
the dam of Merry Go Boy.
Five-Gaited American Saddlebred World Champion, Boucheron