Saddlebreds: The True American Horse

There is a reason that most of the horses used in the entertainment world are American Saddlebreds. They are one of the most willing and personable breeds and are known as friendly, intelligent and very people oriented.  Saddlebreds range in size from 15-17 hands and come in all colors. Their long, sloping pasterns give a spring to their stride, making them very comfortable to ride.

The Saddlebred is both a wonderful family horse and sport horse competitor. They are used for endurance riding, trail riding, dressage, eventing, show jumping, and driving. They were also the type of horses used in the Civil War. The Saddlebreds showing here at Devon are among the best athletes in the Saddlebred show world. This division features a wide variety of classes: five gaited, three gated, fine harness, pleasure, park, country pleasure, western, hunter and pleasure driving.

Minna Mintz, long time Saddlebred exhibitor here at Devon, says, " What makes a Saddlebred great is his amazing heart, athletic ability, and willingness." Mintz saw her first Saddlebred horse here at Devon when she was about fifteen years old. She fell in love with their beauty and elegance and found them to be very friendly and intelligent. "These horses love to show." Mintz showed her first gaited horse at Devon in 1976 where she won the Ladies Five Gaited class. She has been showing in or attending Devon ever since and, while her horses won't be competing this year, Mintz says she will be there for every class.

Saddlebreds have been the breed of choice for many famous and interesting people. Civil War General Robert E Lee, President Franklin D Roosevelt, Clark Gable, and World Heavy Weight boxing champion Joe Lewis all owned Saddlebreds. William Shatner and Carson Kressley have both competed in the Saddlebred classes here at Devon. 'Country Delight' of My Friend Flicka and 'Blaze King' of National Velvet were both Saddlebred stars of these television series. Saddlebreds were used in many movies such as Black Beauty, Gypsy Colt, and Giant.

Mintz feels that Devon is a very unique show, " There is no other show like it, where a horse can compete in front of such an enthusiastic crowd." She talks of the extensive preparation required on show day "A bath, mane and tail washed and fluffed, hooves polished, everything shined from horse to buggy to rider. Both horse and rider have trained the whole year to arrive at this moment."

Photo:  A Saddlebred Rescue horse showing in a pleasure class