ASHBA 2022 Journal

ASHBA Bill Wise Two Year Old Sweepstakes Moves to UPHA American Royal

Learn More about this program and these updates! 

Shane Shiflet Photo: True Patriot, 2020 Champion

(Top Of The Mark X Walterway’s Sing To Me)

Bred by Merrill Murray 


Black Horse with Blue Ribbon

2022 ASHBA Journal Available Now


Check out the digital edition of the Breeders' Bible, Journal of the American Saddlebred! 


Start Your Saddlebred Story Today!

Discover the Horse America Made

Proud. Beautiful. Versatile. Athletic.

From the elite competitor to the backyard companion the horse for you is the American Saddlebred. 

Discover your joy and start your Saddlebred Story today. 

Learn more about the magnificent American Saddlebred.

Find an American Saddlebred barn in your area.



Ranch Horse

American Saddlebred Ranch Horse Division Resources 

Ranch Horse Resource Page

Check out the new resource page for the American Saddlebred Ranch Division added to our breed rule book in 2021! From the full rules for all current classes, score sheets and example videos this is your one stop shop to learn more about this exciting new division! 

Photo by Jon McCarthy


Start Your Saddlebred Story Today

2022 ASHBA Youth Conference Photos

The ASHBA Youth Conference was back and better than ever this year! Enjoy the photos from a weekend of hands-on educational opportunities, Grey Ridge Farm field trip, World's Grand Champion horse presentations with Bourbon Select and The Crowd Went Nuts!, Saddlebred champions from all divisions, and our Youth Awards Gala!


Courtesy of Kaelyn Donnelly Browning


Breed History

1700s: The American Horse

Thoroughbreds were imported to the Colonies in 1706 and crossed with the native Narragansett Pacer and by the American Revolution, an all-purpose riding horse called the “American Horse” was recognized. They retained the easy gaits and stamina of the Narragansett’s but added the Thoroughbred’s size and quality. The American Horse was so successful, an American diplomat in France wanted one as a gift for Marie Antoinette.

1800s: Saddle Horses

American Horses went west with the pioneers and in Kentucky, horsemen continued to add Thoroughbred blood to their easy-gaited horses, developing a larger, prettier, all-purpose animal known as Kentucky Saddlers.

During the Civil War, Kentucky Saddlers proved their superiority on the battlefield. Most high ranking officials on both sides rode Saddlers: Lee had his Traveller, Grant was on Cincinnati, Sherman rode Lexington and Stonewall Jackson was on Little Sorrell. Generals John Hunt Morgan and Nathan Bedford Forrest rode Kentucky Saddlers exclusively. In peacetime, the great demand for Saddle Horses enabled the industry to recover quickly.

The first exhibition was recorded near Lexington, Kentucky, in 1816. The sport continued to grow and the first national horse show occurred in 1856. The Saddlers dominated the competition and rivalry at horse shows between breeders and the state pride, especially between Kentucky and Missouri, was intense. This allowed for gifted horsemen to make a living at training show horses. 

In 1891 the American Saddlebred Horse Association, originally known as the National Saddle Horse Breeders Association, was founded in Louisville, Kentucky and was the first organization for an American breed of Horse.

20th Century: The American Saddlebred

In 1917 the Kentucky State Fair offered the first $10,000 five-gaited stake and claimed to be the World’s Championship. The American Horse Shows Association was founded the same year and through the 1920s, horse shows continued to evolve, with format and rules becoming more standardized.

Shows varied across the nation, from the high society affairs of New York and Los Angeles, to the great state fairs of the South and Midwest, to the county fairs which were more athletic contests than society functions. Agriculture was still the mainstay of America, and most Americans understood and appreciated the athleticism and splendor of the animals. Individual stars caught the public's imagination.

Excitement for horse shows was revived after World War II with stars such as CHOak Hill Chief and six-time World's Grand Champion CHWing Commander. Hundreds of horse trainers practiced their trade, particularly in rural areas.

In the 1950s new stars emerged on the scene, including the fine harness star CHThe Lemon Drop Kid who was the only Saddlebred to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated.

The American Saddlebred Pleasure Horse Association was formed in 1957, giving stature to the English Pleasure classes which had already been a mainstay on the show circuit. Today, the pleasure divisions rival all others in numbers.

The Saddlebred world flourished in the 1970s and 1980s and the over-the-top 1980s saw the legendary rivalry of World's Grand Champions CHSky Watch and CHImperator in five gaited, and the five-year reign of CHSultan's Starina in three-gaited.

In the 1990s, focus shifted to riding programs in order to lay the groundwork for new generations of Saddlebred enthusiast. Youth has since become a large part of the Saddlebred world, with increases in Academy, ASHA Youth Clubs and new innovations such as the World Cup and ASHA Youth Driving Challenge.

Today, the American Saddlebred is a versatile horse that has found success in three day eventing, hunt seat, combined driving and in the show ring.