Taken from the brochure "Conformation of the American Saddlebred" as distributed by The American Saddlebred Horse Association USA for promotional purposes.
The conformation of the American Saddlebred is ideally suited for competition, recreation, and pleasure. The beauty, charm and adaptability of the breed to any task makes the Saddlebred owner proud to be the horse's partner in any setting.. He carries himself with an attitude that is elusive of description—some call it “class,” presence, quality, style, or charm. This superior air distinguishes his every movement.
The ideal American Saddlebred is well-proportioned and presents a beautiful overall picture. The animal should be in good flesh, with good muscle tone and a smooth, glossy coat. Masculinity in stallions and femininity in mares are important and should be taken into consideration.
The average height is 15 to 16 hands and the weight 1,000-1,200 pounds. Any color is acceptable; the most prominent are chestnut, bay, brown and black with some gray, roan, Palomino and Pinto.
HEAD–well-shaped with large, wide-set expressive eyes, gracefully shaped ears set close together on top of the head and carried alertly; a straight face line with a relatively
fine muzzle and large nostrils and a clean and smooth jaw line.
Photos: Supreme Heir (Supreme Sultan x CHSupreme Airs BHF by Stonewall Supreme) by Avis; Supreme Sultan (CHValley View Supreme x Melody O’Lee BHF by Anacacho Denmark) by Susan M. McFadden.
NECK–long, arched and well-flexed at the poll with a fine, clean throatlatch.
WITHERS–well defined and prominent.
SHOULDERS–deep and sloping.
BACK–strong and level with well sprung ribs.
CROUP–level with a well carried tail coming out high.
LEGS–The front leg should set well forward under the shoulder. The line of the hind leg, in a natural stance, should be vertical from the point of the buttock to the back edge of the cannon bone. The forearms and hindquarters are well muscled to the knees and hocks.
Legs are straight with broad flat bones, sharply defined tendons and sloping pasterns.
HOOVES–good and sound, open at the heel, neither toed in or toed out.
The American Saddlebred in Competition
The American Saddlebred remains the ultimate show horse, high-stepping and elegant. A show horse is a spectacle of beauty and grace but is also an intense athletic competitor. American Saddlebreds compete in four primary divisions in the show ring: Five-Gaited, Three-Gaited, Fine Harness and Pleasure. Each division has its own “look,” and competitors should be groomed to perfection.
Five-gaited, fine harness and show pleasure horses are exhibited with full manes and
tails. Five-gaited and fine harness horses also wear protective boots on their front feet. Three-gaited horses are shown with roached, or trimmed, manes to accentuate their long, fine necks.
The common denominator for Saddlebreds in the show ring is that they should be alert, showing with neck arched, head up and ears forward, projecting an attitude of “Look at me!” They are judged on performance, manners, presence, quality and conformation.