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The American Saddlebred of today is described as follows:

They are 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.

This animal 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. 

It was 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 walk.

Gaines' Denmark

Harrison Chief

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 dam.  

A 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.


King Genius Moon Magic
Five-Gaited American Saddlebred World Champion, Boucheron