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Top Five Western Show Breeds


american saddlebred1. American Saddlebred

The American Saddlebred is a national breed and one of America's best kept secrets. They were developed in the pre-civil war years with the descendants of horses brought from England in the early pioneering and pilgrim days and the Thoroughbred which was imported a bit later. They are unique among gaited breeds as they have a strong trot with an ambling gait. Standing at 15 - 17 hands, this horse comes in all colors except the Appaloosa style spots. This is a jack-of-all trades as it is excellent for a variety of show options including dressage, circus, and driving.

2. The Morgan Horse

This is a native American breed known for its elegance and versatility. It can be used in a carriage harness, under a saddle, in the show ring, during sport events and in many other activities. They stand between 14.1 - 15.1 hands, occasionally reaching 16 and found most frequently in bay and chestnut though a number of others are acceptable. The breed was started in 1789 and named after the owner Justin Morgan. The sire of the breed, Justin Morgan was an amazing horse able to haul logs one day and run a race and win the next.

3. American Quarter Horse

With great adaptability and an even temperament, the American Quarter Horse is more than a show horse. They are used for trail riding and even by mounted police units. It is an exceedingly popular breed with a population of about 3 million. They are seen in rodeos, on ranches, and in show and pleasure events. The American Quarter Horse stands between 14 and 16 hands and comes in colors from black and brown to bay, chestnut, palomino, buckskin and grey. They were developed back in the 1700's by colonists and were the favorite of settlers moving west, and cowboys rounding up cattle.

4. Appaloosa

It is a horse and not a color, despite popular belief. The Appaloosa though commonly seen in a color patterned coat can come in solids as well. They are a very versatile breed with great endurance and excellent disposition. Though they can be stubborn, they are also extremely intelligent. Developed by the Nez Perce Indians, they originate in the Northwest of America. They were selectively bred by the Nez Perce who became excellent horsemen with strong, fast and sure footed mounts. The short mane and tail were selectively bred so the horses would not get caught in the brush. Standing at 14.2 hands, this is a light breed used in a variety on contexts including showing and riding.

5. Missouri Fox Trotter

Developed primarily from saddle horses and light horses, the Missouri Fox Trotter hails from the Ozarks. It was brought into the region by pioneers heading West who brought their best possessions with them, including their horses. The sure-footedness of these horses was essential as the pioneers moved around the mountainous regions and built homesteads where they then depended on their equines to function as plow horses. They are used today as a pleasure, show and cross-country trail riding horse; often described as the "common man's pleasure horse". They stand between 14-16 hands and come in all colors.



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