Dear Forum Participants -- This is a heads-up to let you know that, at long last we've gotten to the point in my series on the history of American horse breeding where it's time to talk about the American Saddlebred. This happens to be one of my favorite breeds and I have been looking forward to the opportunity to take a serious look at the origins of this very athletic breed and then trace its history forward from the American Colonies to today.
That's where y'all come in -- if you have been following the series in EQUUS Magazine, the breed we're just finishing up is the American Standardbred, and the grand finale to that set of articles has been two reports featuring Standardbreds who have retired from the track -- usually perfectly or at least manageably sound -- and have found new homes with people who use them for a wide variety of other kinds of things. This includes not only pleasure trailriding and work as a school horse, but also competition in the form of enduro, 3Day Event, Open Jumper, show hunter, English Pleasure, Western Pleasure, barrel racing, racking horse, dressage, parade/costume/color guard, outdoor pleasure driving, or Circus/solo exhibition/haute ecole horse.
We sent out an appeal about a year ago, looking for owners of these horses and requesting photos and a short report or a few paragraphs from each owner telling the horse's sire/dam, where they got him (i.e. adoption place, killer pen, private sale, etc.), and anything they would like to tell us regarding trainability or training difficulties and how they feel about the horse. I was amazed that after the EQUUS editors posted this request on their Facebook page, we got over 100 responses representing a very wide range of "second careers" and some very thoughtful owner commentary as well.
Now that it's time to do the American Saddlebred, I am making the same appeal to our Forum (and on the EQUUS Facebook page). I am especially interested also in finding conformation photos of Saddlebreds of the so-called "old type", i.e. broad-chested, heavy-boned animals with necks of normal or near-normal length. Also, a conformation photo which accompanies photos of, for example, the animal jumping or barrel racing or whatever he does post-show career, have special value.
If you can help us out by sending photos of your ASB doing something other than their conventional type of showing (i.e. with the long hoofs, weights, braced tail, etc.) I would be most grateful.
I know from personal experience that ASB's can be absolutely wonderful rides and amazing athletes, highly intelligent and very trainable, and I hope to hear all about your ASB so we can share that with all the readers of EQUUS.