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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.

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Inaugural American Saddlebred Expo

Published Date: Dec 15, 2022

Inaugural American Saddlebred Expo  

 By Bob Funkhouser 

 As seen in Saddle Horse Report

 

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, more specifically Ephrata, was the site of the inaugural American Saddlebred Expo, which turned out to be one of the best programs for promoting the breeding of American Saddlebreds in some time. Local horseman/breeder Ben Kauffman had an idea to bring the American Saddlebred and lots of information to the Amish community of Lancaster County, which knows about and uses the American Saddlebred as a show horse, for transportation and farming. 

He contacted the American Saddlebred Horse Breeders Association (ASHBA) and the two combined resources to host an event that was enjoyable for the hosts and clinicians as well as a most appreciative audience. 

“The idea for the Expo started with a few local Saddlebred breeders discussing the current interest amongst other enthusiasts in the area in breeding quality Saddlebreds,” said Ben Kauffman. “Multiple conversations were had and different thoughts kicked around until one day the idea to try a promotional expo was formed. 

“We need a better market to sell our product, but to attract buyers to our product we first need to raise desirable stock. In order to have that happen, we need to educate and promote the American Saddlebred horse as a breed and encourage the responsible breeding of Saddlebreds. 

“There is a need to give the interested people better connections and opportunities to network with people in the ‘show industry’ as well as give the trainers and show industry an opportunity to promote buying better breeding stock.” 

“I’ve had a passion for the American Saddlebred for years,” added Joe Kauffman. “This year we expanded our breeding program to 10 mares. I wanted to raise some show horses and started thinking about a good way to market the yearlings. Realizing there is a shortage of good horses and to help promote the breed, Ben and I came up with the idea of having an Expo to help others get started.” 

To this end, Tuffy Owens was the master of ceremonies on Friday, December 2 as Kauffman, his brother Joe, and Elizabeth Pierson and Margaret Babiarz from the ASHBA, all gathered with the panelists and guest trainers to promote the breeding of quality American Saddlebreds to this community who hung on to every word of every presentation and every speaker. 

Owens welcomed the group of some 150 interested attendees. He set up the day and what the group would be seeing. Bob Funkhouser then gave some history of the American Saddlebred including their heritage in Pennsylvania. There were also pictures and information on several great of the past, including many stallions and mares who are in the pedigrees of today’s top horses. His presentation closed with the pictures and bloodlines of the Top 10 World’s Champion Sires of 2021. After he explained that the American Saddlebred industry has lost many of its breeding operations and the opportunity is there for those with land and the knowledgeto breed quality horses that can be marketed to the show horse barns. 

Emily Lee, vice-president of the ASHBA shared her story of why she and husband Tre´ choose to focus on the breeding side and developing young horses versus a barn full of amateurs and junior exhibitors. She explained that different prize money programs for young horses allowed them to win substantial prize money last year in addition to being able to sell most of the young horses they had for that purpose. 

Darrell Case did a presentation on what to look for in selecting a weanling to show and the purpose of the Futurities. Ben Kauffman then presented a weanling with Case commenting. 

Todd and Kim Graham presented a yearling that had been up for 30 days and they explained and showed the work it had received so far and what would come next. Todd emphasized that there is a need for quality prospects as the Academy programs across the country are turning out new owners/riders, however, the breeders don’t have the stock to supply the new demand. He also emphasized that “if you call me to tell me you have a colt you want me to look at I’m much more likely to make that trip if horse has breeding that I recognize. If you call me and say you have a filly by Ole Joe out of Connie, I’m probably not going to come see it. Make sure you start with a well-bred mare. Look in the pages of Saddle Horse Report and see how the horses that are winning are bred and talk to trainers and breeders. I guarantee, they will be more than happy to speak with you and help you.” 

Throughout the day there were different sessions with an assortment of speakers that covered everything from selecting broodmares, to how trainers would want to look at weanlings and yearlings, to preparing youngsters for viewing and the all-important care of the horse, including teeth, feet, and nutrition. 

The afternoon would end with a question and answer session with the panel of trainers, as well as a presentation of show horses, ranging from five-gaited to hunter and Western, followed by a stallion service auction, which generated funds to pay for the Expo’s expenses. 

By the day’s end there was much interaction between the audience and the professionals who gave of their time to be there and the ASHBA signed up several new members. Also, there was much excitement about what had been accomplished and what could be done in the future. 

“It went smoothly, was very educational and a lot of fun,” said Mackenzie Werry. “It was a great program and we’re looking forward to going back next year,” added Lori Ureta of Timberlane Farm. “This was a great format and allowed the professionals and audience a chance to exchange ideas and information.” 

The feedback has been really good and the committee has already met to discuss the steps for next year. 

“I was so happy with the turnout and that ASHBA could be a part of it,” said Emily Lee. “It set a good foundation of what’s to come.” 

 

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