An increasingly popular breed, the American Saddlebred, has a show style that is all its own. The American Saddlebred can be shown “in-hand”, under a cut back saddle, traditional saddle seat with a full bridle, in cart classes, hunt seat, and western. The versatile Saddlebred can do it all. In strictly Saddlebred associated shows, there are a number of things that are a little different. The biggest difference is the crowd. Often, the crowd is full of people yelling, hooting, wooping and cheering for their favorite horses. As oppose to a dressage show where no one makes a sound until the rider is done.
Show days start with the in-hand classes. Show pleasure is done with shoes and pads and Country pleasure is done with only flat shod shoes or barefoot. After the halter, showmanship halter, and championship halter is done comes the lead line classes. These are preformed at the walk and trot with each rider and horse having a handler. Another big difference, aside from the cut back saddle, is the the full bridle. A full bridle has both a curb and a bridoon(small snaffle). The regular classes come after that. zthese classes are divided into groups by age, horse age, show or country pleasure, hunt seat, western and the equation groups.
With all the classes comes the wardrobe. For hunt seat and western, the apparal is typical of what you would see anywhere else in those classes. However for all the other classes, they wear long coats that hang to their knees and the back has “tails” that are split to look nice while riding. These are called Day Coats and they come in every color you can think of. The most popular pattern would be the pin strip. The pants, jodhpurs pants are just like in English with longer heels. They are also made from polyester. They also have buttons on the underside of the pants to attach elastic to to keep your pants down while riding.
Cart classes are either two wheeled or four. Horses preform the walk, trot, extended trot, and then back up. The equation class is based on the riders form and both horse and rider are tested on a pattern. There is also the gaited classes. Five gaited Saddlebeds show at the walk, trot, slow gait, canter, and rack. At the more expensive shows there is a organ player who plays a song to match the horses gait for every class.
With showing Saddleseat and Saddlebreds, there is a points competition and chances to make it to the Grand Nationals every year based on those points and your performance. It is very much like a lot of other show organizations. The best of the best end up at the world show.
The world of Saddlebred showing is a fun and exciting. No other horse matches the endless energy or high action beauty of an American Saddlebred.