Spotted Saddle Horse

The spotted saddle horse is a gaited breed of light riding horse that was developed in the United States by crossbreeding small gaited pinto ponies of Spanish descent with larger American breeds like the Standardbred and the Morgan horse. Other gaited breeds were introduced into the bloodline after the American Civil War, including the Tennessee walking horse, Paso Fino, and American Mustangs. It was selectively bred for its pinto coloration and its use as a general riding horse. The two registries for this breed, the National Spotted Saddle Horse Association established in 1979 and the Spotted Saddle Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association established in 1985, strongly prohibit abusive or inhumane show and training practices.

The spotted saddle horse reaches an average height between 14.3 and 16 hands and has a conformation similar to that of a Tennessee walking horse. The slightly arched neck supports a refined head with a straight profile. The back is short and leads to muscular hindquarters and a high set tail. This breed can come in any solid color, but pinto spots must be present for a horse to be registered. This includes tobiano and overo patterning.

The breed registries for the spotted saddle horse have similar rules regarding the registry of horses, including the rule that horses must be able to perform an ambling gait. This four beat gait replaces the trot that other breeds display and is categorized into two types, known as the show walk and the show gait. Both of these gaits allow the horse to move in a smooth manner at medium or high speeds. Other requirements must be met in order for a horse to be registered with the NSSHA and the SSHB, including color requirements and those pertaining to the parentage of a registering foal.

Image Caption: Spotted Saddle Horse at work. Credit: Just chaos/Wikipedia (CC BY 2.0)