Are Hackney Ponies Gaited

Brent Mccoy
• Sunday, 27 December, 2020
• 25 min read

Country of originEnglandTraitsDistinguishing featuresFine, slim, well-proportioned body; long, arched neck; set tail; animated and exaggerated motion Hackney pony is a breed of pony closely related to the Hackney horse. Originally bred to pull carriages, they are used today primarily as show ponies.

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He desired to create not a miniaturized horse, but rather a true pony with such characteristics. Extracting the large trot and other characteristics of the hackney horse and applying them to this true type of pony, he was successful in creating the form which was desired.

This is one case of an entire type of breed that is formed in a controlled, private environment. First known as Wilson Ponies, they were usually kept out all year, wintering in the inhospitable Fells with little food or care.

The breed was used in Great Britain as carriage horses and were also imported into the United States. They were considered to be very stylish to drive during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when automobiles were still uncommon.

Thus, their drastic decline in numbers and plight toward extinction came to an end, and the breed was popularized once again. In the United States, Hackney ponies have also had considerable influence on the American version of the Shetland pony.

The Hackney has also influenced the miniature horse, adding refinement and action. It should have true pony characteristics, and should not be a scaled down version of the Hackney Horse.

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The feet are very hard, and are usually allowed to grow long in the toe to accentuate the action of the pony. They usually have even more exaggerated action than the Hackney horse, knees rising as high as possible and hocks coming right under the body.

Due to the Sabine gene, common in the breed, the Hackney Pony may have white markings on its body as well as on its legs and head. Hackneys have a reputation for being friendly toward humans, and are suitable for both show and as companion animals.

Most classes require both a “Park Trot,” executed in a highly collected manner and then exhibitors are given the command, “Show your pony,” which permits an increase in speed to exhibit each pony to its best advantage. Road ponies are judged upon their action when trotting, as well as their speed, conformation, and temperament.

In the Bobtail pony division, ponies are shown with a tightly braided mane and appear to have a docked tail (though usually created only by trimming the tail short, not actual docking). The typical apparel for driving harness ponies is a suit for men, and a dress or other formal wear for women.

Pleasure ponies are shown to a two-wheeled cart, and the driver usually wears more casual dress. Some Hackney ponies are shown in one or two pairs in harness, though classes which are designated for this are fairly rare.

(Source: www.ehorses.co.uk)

The Encyclopedia of Horses & Ponies, by Tam sin Pickerel, Barnes & Noble Books, ISBN0-7607-3457-7, p. 311. The only breed of horse in Iceland, they are also popular internationally, and sizable populations exist in Europe and North America.

The breed is still used for traditional shepherding work in its native country, as well as for leisure, showing, racing. Iceland by Norse settlers in the 9th and 10th centuries, the breed is mentioned in literature and historical records throughout Icelandic history; the first reference to a named horse appears in the 12th century. Horses were venerated in Norse Mythology, a custom brought to Iceland by the country's earliest settlers.

Natural selection has also played a role, as the harsh Icelandic climate eliminated many horses through cold and starvation. Icelandic horses weigh between 330 and 380 kilograms (730 and 840 lb) and stand an average of 13 and 14 hands (52 and 56 inches, 132 and 142 cm) high, which is often considered pony size, but breeders and breed registries always refer to Icelandic's as horses.

Several theories have been put forward as to why Icelandic's are always called horses, among them the breed's spirited temperament and large personality. Another theory suggests that the breed's weight, bone structure and weight-carrying abilities mean it can be classified as a horse, rather than a pony.

The breed comes in many coat colors, including chestnut, dun, bay, black, gray, palomino, pinto and roan. The breed has a double coat developed for extra insulation in cold temperatures.

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Characteristics differ between various groups of Icelandic horses, depending on the focus of individual breeders. Members of the breed are not usually ridden until they are four years old, and structural development is not complete until age seven.

The horses tend to not be easily spooked, probably the result of not having any natural predators in their native Iceland. As a result of their isolation from other horses, disease in the breed within Iceland is mostly unknown, except for some kinds of internal parasites.

As a result, native horses have no acquired immunity to disease; an outbreak on the island would be likely to be devastating to the breed. There is considerable variation in style within the gait, and thus the told is variously compared to similar lateral gaits such as the rack of the Saddle bred, the largo of the Pass Fine, or the running walk of the Tennessee Walking Horse.

It is used in pacing races, and is fast and smooth, with some horses able to reach up to 30 miles per hour (48 km/h). A slow pace is uncomfortable for the rider and is not encouraged when training the horse to perform the gait.

These later settlers arrived with the ancestors of what would elsewhere become Shetland, Highland, and Connemara ponies, which were crossed with the previously imported animals. Mongolian horses are believed to have been originally imported from Russia by Swedish traders; this imported Mongol stock subsequently contributed to the Fjord, Ex moor, Scottish Highland, Shetland and Connemara breeds, all of which have been found to be genetically linked to the Icelandic horse.

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About 900 years ago, attempts were made to introduce eastern blood into the Icelandic, resulting in a degeneration of the stock. Small, a mare who is the first Icelandic horse known by name, appeared in the Book of Settlements from the 12th century.

According to the book, a chieftain named Seal-Thorir founded a settlement at the place where Small stopped and lay down with her pack. Indispensable to warriors, war horses were sometimes buried alongside their fallen riders, and stories were told of their deeds.

Icelanders also arranged for bloody fights between stallions; these were used for entertainment and to pick the best animals for breeding, and they were described in both literature and official records from the Commonwealth Period of 930 to 1262 AD. Stallion fights were an important part of Icelandic culture, and brawls, both physical and verbal, among the spectators were common.

However, not all human fights were serious, and the events provided a stage for friends and even enemies to battle without the possibility of major consequences. Natural selection played a major role in the development of the breed, as large numbers of horses died from lack of food and exposure to the elements.

Between 874 and 1300 AD, during the more favorable climatic conditions of the medieval warm period, Icelandic breeders selectively bred horses according to special rules of color and conformation. From 1300 to 1900, selective breeding became less of a priority; the climate was often severe and many horses and people died.

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Between 1783 and 1784, around 70% of the horses in Iceland were killed by volcanic ash poisoning and starvation after the 1783 eruption of Lakagigar. The eruption lasted eight months, covered hundreds of square miles of land with lava, and rerouted or dried up several rivers.

The population slowly recovered during the next hundred years, and from the beginning of the 20th century selective breeding again became important. Icelandic's were exported to Great Britain before the 20th century to work as pit ponies in the coal mines, because of their strength and small size.

Great Britain's first official imports were in 1956, when a Scottish farmer, Stuart McIntosh, began a breeding program. Both gallop and pace races are held, as well as performance classes showcasing the breed's unique gaits.

In 2009 such an event resulted in both horses and riders falling into the water and needing to be rescued. The Agricultural Society of Iceland, along with the National Association of Riding Clubs, now organizes regular shows with a wide variety of classes.

Farmers still use the breed to round up sheep in the Icelandic highlands, but most horses are used for competition and leisure riding. The Leif was founded on May 25, 1969, with six countries as original members: Austria, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.

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The registry is a web database program that is used as a studbook to track the history and bloodlines of the Icelandic breed. The registry contains information on the pedigree, breeder, owner, offspring, photo, breeding evaluations and assessments, and unique identification of each horse registered.

Lotto on SCADA AOL KIR standing at Li Li Star stud Extracting the large trot and other characteristics of the hackney horse and applying them to this true type of pony, he was successful in creating the form which was desired.

This is one case of an entire type of breed that is formed in a controlled, private environment. The breed was used in Great Britain as carriage horses and were also imported into the United States.

They were considered to be very stylish to drive during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when automobiles were still uncommon. Thus, their drastic decline in numbers and plight toward extinction came to an end, and the breed was popularized once again.

In the United States, Hackney ponies have also had considerable influence on the American version of the Shetland pony. The feet are very hard, and are usually allowed to grow long in the toe to accentuate the action of the pony.

(Source: www.ehorses.co.uk)

They usually have even more exaggerated action than the Hackney horse, knees rising as high as possible and hocks coming right under the body. Due to the Sabine gene, common in the breed, the Hackney Pony may have white markings on its body as well as on its legs and head.

The typical apparel for driving harness ponies is a suit for men, and a dress or other formal wear for women. Due to the isolation suffered for about 400 years and the selection made by their breeders, this breed is very particular in their body proportions and an ambling gait or “pass llano” that is characteristic.

Trujillo city is considered the “Cradle of typical Peruvian Pass Horse.” Peruvian Pass trace their ancestry to these ambling Jennets; as well as to the Barb, which contributed strength and stamina; and to the Andalusian which added style, conformation and action.

This later became the Vice royalty of Peru, an important center of Spain's New World colonies in the eighteenth century. In the south of Peru, the arid deserts that separated settlements required sturdy, strong horses.

On the other hand, Peru did not develop a livestock-based economy, and thus did not need to breed for the speed or agility characteristic of stock horses. Over time, Peruvian breeders kept the bloodlines clean and selectively bred primarily for gait, conformation, and temperament.

(Source: www.ehorses.co.uk)

Over four centuries, their dedication to breeding only the best gained bloodstock resulted in the modern Peruvian Pass. Many of the major breeders in the area gave their best horses away to peasants living in the nearby quebradas (valleys).

The Peruvian Pass continued to flourish in the northern regions because it was still needed for transportation on the haciendas. This changed with the harsh Agrarian Reforms instituted by the government of Juan Velasco Alvarado in the late 1960s that had a devastating effect on the Peruvian Pass horse within Peru.

The past thirty years have seen a resurgence in the Peruvian Pass horse's fortune in Peru. The annual National Show in Lima is a major event in Peruvian cultural life.

Peruvian Pass horses are noted internationally for their good temperament and comfortable ride. The horse is medium-sized, usually standing between 14.1 to 15.2 hands (57 to 62 inches, 145 to 157 cm) tall, with an elegant yet powerful build.

The Peruvian horse has a deep chest, heavy neck and body with substance without any trace of being hounded gutted in the flank area. A low set, quiet tail, clamped tightly between the buttocks is a vital quality.

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The coat color can be varied; and is seen in chestnut, black, bay, brown, buckskin, palomino, gray, roan or dun. Instead of a trot, the Peruvian Pass performs an ambling four beat gaits between the walk and the canter.

This characteristic gait was utilized for the purpose of covering long distances over a short period of time without tiring the horse or rider. Purebred Peruvian Pass foals can be seen gaining alongside their dams within a few hours of their birth.

Trio refers to a horse’s vigor, energy, exuberance, courage and liveliness; it automatically implies that these qualities are willingly placed in the service of the rider. Their attention does not wander but is focused on the handler or rider, and thus they are quick to react and fast to learn.

Horses with trio attract attention, and combined with the stamina of the breed have reserves they can tap to travel long distances for many hours. Trio describes a somewhat contradictory temperament, which combines arrogance, spirit, and the sense of always being on parade, with a willingness to please the rider.

Trio is an intangible quality of controlled energy that creates a Metamorphosis in ordinary-looking horses and is an important trait of the Peruvian Pass. Degenerative suspension ligament DeSantis (DSL) is a connective tissue disorder akin to Ehlers-Danlos syndrome now being researched in all breeds of horse, but was originally noted in the Peruvian Pass.

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The latest research has led to the renaming of the disease after the possible systemic and hereditary components now being delineated by the University of Georgia. Competitions are organized by the Association of Breeders and Owners of Peruvian Pass Horses.

The two best-known and most important events are The National Horse Competition Cabal lo de Paso Serrano held in Pachamanca and at the International de la Primavera during the months of September and October in Trujillo city and during the international Mariners Festival in January. “Pass” simply means “step,” in Spanish, and does not imply a common breed or origin.

Pass are prized for their smooth, natural, four-beat, lateral ambling gait; they are used in many disciplines, but are especially popular for trail riding. Puerto Rican and Colombian horses, as well as Pass Finds from Cuba and other tropical countries, have been interbred frequently in the United States to produce the modern American Pass Fine show horse.

On the second voyage of Christopher Columbia from Spain to the Americas in 1493, he disembarked with his soldiers, 20 horses and 5 mares on the island of Borinquen at the bay of Agenda (today UNESCO), and gave the region the name San Juan Bautista. Soon after, in May 1509, the first Leon, brought horses to Puerto Rico from his hacienda, El Higher, located on the neighboring island of La Espinoza (now Hispaniola).

Island geography and the desires of a people for hardy, sure-footed, comfortable horses led to the independent development of the breed. As early as 1849, Pass Fine competitions were held in Puerto Rico, with prizes for winners, for the purpose of improving local horses.

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In 1927 the most influential sire in the modern Puerto Rican Pass Fine breed, Dunce Steno, was born in Guayama. In 1943, the Federation of the Sport of Pass Fine Horses of Puerto Rico and a breed registry were established.

The first Pass Finds in the United States were imported by members of the armed services, who purchased the horses while stationed in Puerto Rico. Colombian Pass came to the United States beginning with a rancher who visited Colombia and purchased quite a number of the horses to work his cattle.

It registers and promotes both Puerto Rican and Colombian horses, and under the FHA, the two groups have been frequently crossbred. The Pass Fine tends to be refined, standing an average of 13 to 15.2 hands (52 to 62 inches, 132 to 157 cm) but is powerful for its size.

It has a convex head, clean legs and a relatively short back with prominent withers. This is a lively horse that has a natural drive and willingness, known colloquially as “trio”, and generally an amiable disposition.

Pass Finds come in a variety of colors, sizes and body types, but the even four-beat gait and trio are present in all good representatives of the breed. Some lineages of the breed are known to have higher incidence of degenerative suspension ligament DeSantis (DSL).

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Both the Colombian and the Puerto Rican strains of the Pass Fine execute the lateral gait naturally, without the aid of training devices. At whatever speed the horse travels, the smoothness of the gait ideally allows the rider to appear motionless with little up and down movement.

Walking, trotting, cantering or any detected break from the rapid evenly spaced sequence of steps is grounds for disqualification at any time during a fine event. The pass largo is a fast, lateral, four-beat gait in which the horse can reach speeds equivalent to a canter or slow gallop.

In Colombia, some related native horses perform a slightly different, unevenly timed diagonal four-beat gait, known as the Rocha, which is similar to the fox trot, and very smooth. It is inherited in a manner similar to the lateral ambling gaits of the purebred Pass Fine.

The wrote y galore horses perform an exaggerated diagonal two-beat trot and a very collected canter, but they do share some common heritage with the Pass Fine. It is a popular riding horse due to its calm disposition, smooth gaits and sure-footedness.

Other breeds were later added, and in 1886 a foal named Black Allan was born. In 1935 the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' Association was formed, and it closed the studbook in 1947.

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In the early 21st century, this annual event has attracted considerable attention and controversy, because of efforts to prevent abuse of horses that was practiced to enhance their performance in the show ring. The two basic categories of Tennessee Walking Horse show competition are called “flat-shod” and “performance”, distinguished by desired leg action.

Performance horses are shod with built-up pads or “stacks”, along with other weighted action devices, creating the so-called “Big Lick” style. The United States Equestrian Federation and some breed organizations now prohibit the use of stacks and action devices at shows they sanction.

The modern Tennessee Walking Horse is described as “refined and elegant, yet solidly built”. The Tennessee Walking Horse has a reputation for having a calm disposition and a naturally smooth riding gait.

While the horses are famous for flashy movement, they are popular for trail and pleasure riding as well as show. While performing the running walk, the horse nods its head in rhythm with its gait.

Some members of the breed perform other variations of lateral ambling gaits, including the rack, stepping pace, fox trot and single-foot, which are allowable for pleasure riding but penalized in the show ring. The Tennessee Walker originated from the cross of Narragansett Pace and Canadian Pacer horses brought to Kentucky starting in 1790, with gained Spanish Mustangs imported from Texas.

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By the stallion Allegory (from the Hamiltonian family of Standardized) and out of a Morgan mare named Maggie Marshall, he became the foundation sire of the Tennessee Walking Horse breed. A failure as a trotting horse, due to his insistence on pacing, Black Allan was instead used for breeding.

In 1950, the United States Department of Agriculture recognized the Tennessee Walking Horse as a distinct breed. While the Tennessee Walking Horse is most common in the southern and southeastern US, it is found throughout the country.

To promote this use, the Thea maintains an awards program in conjunction with the American Endurance Ride Conference. The Lone Rangers's horse “Silver” was at times played by a Tennessee Walker.

The two basic categories of Tennessee Walking Horse show competition are called “flat-shod” and “performance”. Performance horses, sometimes called “padded” or “built up”, exhibit flashy and animated gaits, lifting their forelegs high off the ground with each step.

In the early 21st century, this form of shoeing is now prohibited at shows governed by the National Walking Horse Association (YWHA), and the United States Equestrian Federation (Used). Tennessee Walkers are also shown in both pleasure and fine harness driving classes, with grooming similar to that of the saddle seat horses.

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Tennessee Walking Horses are typically shown with a long mane and tail. In classes where horses are turned out in saddle seat equipment, it is typical for the horse to be shown in a single curb bit with a bit shank under 9.5 inches (24 cm), rather than the double bridle more common to other saddle seat breeds.

Hats are not always mandatory, but use of safety helmets is allowed and ranges from strongly encouraged to require in some pleasure division classes. This developed during the 1950s and became widespread in the 1960s, resulting in a public outcry against it. Congress passed the Horse Protection Act in 1970, declaring the practice to be “cruel and inhumane”.

Congress delegated statutory responsibility for enforcement to the management of sales and horse shows, but placed administration of the act with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (Aphid) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The USDA certifies certain Horse Industry Organizations (His) to train and license Designated Qualified Persons (Dips) to complete inspections.

Aphid inspection teams, which include inspectors, investigators, and veterinary medical officers, also conduct unannounced inspections of some horse shows, and have the authority to revoke the license of a DSP who does not follow the standards of the Act. “(3)(A) an irritating or blistering agent has been applied, internally or externally, by a person to any limb of a horse, (B) any burn, cut, or laceration has been inflicted by a person on any limb of a horse, (C) any tack, nail, screw, or chemical agent has been injected by a person into or used by a person on any limb of a horse, or (D) any other substance or device has been used by a person on any limb of a horse or a person has engaged in a practice involving a horse, and, as a result of such application, infliction, injection, use, or practice, such horse suffers, or can reasonably be expected to suffer, physical pain or distress, inflammation, or lameness when walking, Action devices, which remain legal but are often used in conjunction with illegal scoring practices, are defined in the Code of Federal Regulations as “any boot, collar, chain, roller, or other device which encircles or is placed upon the lower extremity of the leg of a horse in such a manner that it can either rotate around the leg, or slide up and down the leg to cause friction, or which can strike the hoof, coronet band or fetlock joint”.

Between 1978 and 1982, Auburn University conducted research as to the effect of applications of chemical and physical irritants to the legs of Tennessee Walking Horses. The study found that chains of any weight, used in combination with chemical scoring, produced lesions and pain in horses.

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However, chains of 6 ounces or lighter, used on their own, produced no pain, tissue damage or thermographic changes. Scoring can be detected by observing the horse for lameness, assessing its stance and palpating the lower legs.

Some trainers use topical anesthetics, which are timed to wear off before the horse goes into the show ring. Trainers who is a sore their horses have been observed leaving the show grounds when they find that the more stringent federal inspection teams are present.

Although illegal under federal law for more than 40 years, scoring is still practiced; criminal charges have been filed against people who violate the Act. The President and executive committee of the Thea voted to support this legislation, but the full board of directors chose not to.

Opponents included members of the Performance Horse Show Association, and the Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture. In 2016, the USDA proposed new rules independent of the PAST Act, banning stacks and chains, and providing stricter inspections at training barns, auctions, and shows.

Controversies over shoeing rules, concerns about scoring, and the breed industry's compliance with the Horse Protection Act has resulted in the development of multiple governing organizations. The Used does not currently recognize or sanction any Tennessee Walking Horse shows.

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Horses listed by the organization descend from the foundation bloodstock registered by the Thea. The YWHA sanctions horse shows and licenses judges, and is an authorized His.

The YWHA was in the process of building its own “tracking registry” to document both pedigree and performance achievements of horses recorded there. In the early 21st century, the Celebration has attracted large amounts of attention and controversy due to the concerns about violations of the Horse Protection Act.

In recent decades, the breeding of the Hackney has been directed toward producing horses that are ideal for carriage driving. They are an elegant high-stepping breed of carriage horse that is popular for showing in harness events.

Hackneys possess good stamina, and are capable of trotting at high speed for extended periods of time. As a result, in 1542 King Henry All required his wealthy subjects keep a specified number of trotting horse stallions for breeding use.

Another famous horse was the stallion Original Sales, foaled in East Anglia in 1755. Messenger (GB), a 1780 grandson of Sampson, was a foundation sire of the present American Standard bred horse.

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In 1820 Bell founder a Norfolk Trotter stallion who was able to trot 17 miles in an hour with 14 stone up, was exported to America where he was the dam sire of Hamiltonian 10. Later with improvements in roads, the Hackney was also used in harness, and he was then a riding and driving horse of high merit.

During the 19th century, with the expansion of the railway, the Norfolk breed fell out of favor, to be revived later by the Hackney Horse Society. The Norfolk and Yorkshire Trotter were selectively bred for elegant style and speed, and were developed into the modern Hackney Horse.

The brilliant gaits of the Hackney Horse, however, saved it from extinction, and began its use in the show ring. They are still extremely successful in harness, and can also produce very nice riding horses, many knowns for their ability in show jumping and dressage competition.

The Hackneys have an average length of back, muscular, level groups, and powerful hindquarters. In the trot, they exhibit showiness and an exaggerated high knee and hock action due to very good flexion of their joints.

The front legs reach up high with sharply bent knees that are stretched well forward with a ground covering stride. In addition to inherent soundness and endurance, the Hackney Horse has proven to be a breed with an easy, rhythmic canter, and a brisk, springy walk.

A foundation stallions, brought from the western United States to eastern Kentucky around 1890, began the Rocky Mountain type in the late 19th century. Rocky Mountain Horses stand between 14.2 and 16 hands (58 and 64 inches, 147 and 163 cm) high.

Any solid color is accepted by the registry, but a dark brown color called “chocolate” with a pale, “flaxen” mane and tail is preferred. This coloration is the result of the relatively rare silver dapple gene acting on a black base coat.

Although uncommon, this gene has been found in over a dozen breeds, including the Rocky Mountain Horse. The physical characteristics are somewhat variable, due to the disparate breeds that created the Rocky Mountain Horse.

Rocky Mountain Horses have the highest risk of any breed for the genetic ocular syndrome multiple congenital ocular anomalies (MCO), originally called equine anterior segment diagenesis (ASD). MCO is characterized by the abnormal development of some ocular tissues, which causes compromised vision, although generally of a mild form; the disease is non-progressive.

The extra footfalls provide additional smoothness to a rider because the horse always has at least one foot on the ground. American Saddlebags, Tennessee Walking Horses and Missouri Fox Trotters also originated in the same general geographic area, from the same mixing of Spanish and English blood.

Brought to the area as a colt, oral histories state that the “Rocky Mountain Horse”, as he was known, possessed the preferred chocolate color and flaxen mane and tail found in the breed today, as well as the single-foot gait. This foundation stallion produced a descendant, named Old Tone, who became the more modern father of the Rocky Mountain Horse breed.

Old Tone was owned by a resident of Spout Springs, Kentucky named Sam Turtle. For most of the 20th century, Turtle was a prominent breeder of Rocky Mountain Horses, and helped to keep the strain alive during the Great Depression and World War ll.

After World War II, despite declining horse populations in the US, Turtle kept his herd, and continued to use Old Tone as a breeding stallion. Turtle held the Natural Bridge State Park concession for horseback riding, and used Old Tone for trail rides in the park and for siring additional trail horses, the latter until the stallion was 34 years old.

Since then, the association has, over the life of the registry, registered over 25000 horses as of 2015, and the breed has spread to 47 states and 11 countries. Horses must also, after reaching 23 months of age, be inspected to ensure that they meet the physical characteristic and gait requirements of the registry.

The breed was originally developed for general use on the farms of the Appalachian foothills, where it was found pulling plows and buggies, working cattle and being ridden by both adults and children. Since 1850 breeders of the Costa Rican horse have paid more attention to the selection of breeding stock.

Because the horse population was small and inbreeding a concern, a few stallions were imported from Spain and Peru. The breed was founded by “Janitor”, foaled in 1955, a loudly marked Sabine stallion.

The gait and movements are performed with action and energy, the knees and hocks showing high flexing during the rhythmic and harmonious trot. Throughout the 20th century, the breed's popularity continued to grow in the United States, and exports began to South Africa and Great Britain.

Averaging 15 to 16 hands (60 to 64 inches, 152 to 163 cm) in height, Saddlebags are known for their sense of presence and style, as well as for their spirited, yet gentle, temperament. They have attracted the attention of numerous celebrities, who have become breeders and exhibitors, and purebred and part bred American Saddlebags have appeared in several films, especially during the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Researching this condition may help more than just the Saddle bred breed as it may “serve as a model for investigating congenital skeletal deformities in horses and other species.” Due to the head position common in the show ring, Saddlebags can have impairments to the upper respiratory system, while the shoeing and movement required of the horses can cause leg and hoof injuries and increased lameness.

The Saddle bred has origins in the Galloway and Hobby horses of the British Isles, animals sometimes called palfreys, which had ambling gaits and were brought to the United States by early settlers. By the time of the American Revolution, a distinct type of riding horse had developed with the size and quality of the Thoroughbred, but the ambling gaits and stamina of the Pacer breeds.

Its existence was first documented in a 1776 letter when an American diplomat wrote to the Continental Congress asking for one to be sent to France as a gift for Marie Antoinette. Other breeds which played a role in the development of the Saddle bred in the 19th century include the Morgan, Standard bred and Hackney.

The most influential Canadian Pacer on Saddle bred lines was Tom Hall, a blue roan stallion foaled in 1806. This sire was a descendant of the Thoroughbred Messenger, who is also considered a foundation stallion for the Standard bred breed.

Kentucky Saddlers were used during brutal marches with the latter group, and the historical record suggests that they held up better than horses of other breeds. A member of Morgan's Raiders, General John Breckenridge Cattleman, was instrumental in forming the NS HBA.

After World War l, the American Saddle bred began to be exported to South Africa, and it is now the most popular non-racing breed in that country. Saddle bred horse show standards continued to evolve through the 1920s, as the popularity of the breed grew.

In the late 1950s, the Saddle Horse Capital became centered in Shelby County, Kentucky, largely due to the success of breeders Charles and Helen Crab tree, the latter a renowned equitation coach. In 1980, the name of the American Saddle Horse Breeder's Association was changed to the American Saddle bred Horse Association (ASHA), membership was opened to non-breeders, and the group began to focus on breed promotion.

Since the founding of the American registry, almost 250,000 horses have been accepted, with almost 3,000 new foals registered annually. Most common in the eastern US, the breed is also found throughout North America, Europe, Australia, and in South Africa.

Located at the Kentucky Horse Park is the American Saddle bred Museum, which curates a large collection of Saddlebred-related items and artwork, as well as a 2,500-volume library of breed-related works. The Kentucky State Fair began running a World Championship show in 1917, offering a $10,000 prize for the champion five- gained horse.

Heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis, who owned and exhibited Saddlebags into the 1940s, organized the first “All-Negro” horse show in Utica, Michigan, allowing greater opportunities for African-American people to exhibit horses at a time when there was significant racial segregation in the United States. At the beginning of the 21st century, the number of women showing Saddlebags increased, with female competitors winning several world championships.

Three- gained horses are shown with a shaved off “roached” mane and with the hair at the top of their tails, an area called the dock, trimmed short. While use of a set tail in certain types of competition was common, today, tail sets are generally not allowed on the show grounds, except for horses in the Park Pleasure division, and horses with unset tails are not penalized in any division.

Because they are so closely affiliated with their traditional show ring competition, they are sometimes mistaken for warm bloods or Thoroughbred crosses when participating in other equine events. They are also suitable family horses used for trail and pleasure riding and ranch work.

In the 1990s, William Shatter, an actor and Saddle bred breeder, rode one of his own horses, a mare named Great Belles of Fire, in his role as James T. Kirk in Star Trek Generations. Numerous other celebrities have been owners and exhibitors of the breed, including William Shatter, Clark Gable, Will Rogers, Joe Louis, and Carson Presley.

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