The Spotted Saddle Horse is a relatively new breed of naturally
gaited horse that is known for having spotted coats of many
colors. They are versatile, good natured with strength and
stamina. The disposition is typically a gentle one, and they
are easy to handle and train.
The Spotted Saddle horse was developed in the United States
by crossing Spanish/American type spotted ponies, such as
Mustangs, with other established gaited breeds such as the
Tennessee Walking Horse, Standardbred, Missouri Fox Trotter,
Peruvian Paso, Paso Fino and the Racking Horse to produced
a naturally smooth gaited, colorful horse. However, since
the Tennessee Walking Horse was used extensively and has a
predominant influence in the breed, the Spotted Saddle Horse
more closely resembles a heavier Tennessee Walker than any
of the other breeds in its pedigree.
At this time, any horse, regardless of background, may be
registered as a Spotted Saddle Horse, provided that the horse
is spotted and exhibits a saddle gait, which may be a flat
walk, running walk, pace, rack, or a combination of all gaits.
As an interesting side note is that the horse cannot trot.
Although many breeds have been used in the Spotted Saddle
Horse's development, it closely resembles a smaller, slightly
stockier Tennessee Walking Horse. The horse is well muscled
and smooth, not bulgy or knotty; not as developed as a Quarter
Horse, but more of a heavier build than the Tennessee Walking
Horse. The horse is physically balanced, with muscle development
of forehand and hindquarter being equal. This is true with
most breeds that perform the smooth or easy gaits since they
push off with the rear and pull with the front.
The head is of moderate length, refined, with a soft, gentle
expression with a profile that is straight to slightly convex.
The Spotted Saddle Horse ranges from 13.3 to 15.2 hands with
the average horse being 15 hands. While the NSSHA is working
towards the larger individual as the breed's ideal, it does
not discriminate against any of them simply on the basis of
The Spotted Saddle Horse has been gaining in demand and popularity
as both a pleasure horse and a show horse. They are currently
being trained in the areas of Show, Trail, Field Trial, and
purely backyard pleasure. It is shown in a number of different
disciplines such as pleasure, in hand, under harness, adult
riders & youth riders. Show classes are also divided by
gender and/or age of either horse or rider and even further
divided by the height of the horses.
The National Spotted Saddle Horse (which is a horse registered
with NSSHA) is shown with a bridle of leather featuring either
buckstitching, silver, or plain. It is similar to the type
used by the Tennessee Walking Horse, but the rhinestones and
colored browbands are prohibited. He is shown under a western
saddle and the rider's show attire is also western, complete
with long sleeved western shirt, western slacks, western boots,
a cowboy hat, bolo tie and optional chaps.
All of the recognized colors of the equine world are accepted
as long as they also include white in a spotted pattern with
color above the hock, but not counting any facial markings.
The horse must possess at least one spot midway between the
center of the knee and the floor of the chest and midway between
the point of the hock and the center point of the stifle.
And a horse must exhibit a spot TWO INCHES OR MORE in diameter
with underlying contrast skin in the area described above
or in the tail. Facial markings, mixed tails, and/or high
stockings alone do not qualify as the required spot.
The Spotted Saddle Horse markings are the same as the standard
Pinto and Paint type patterns. The horse can be Tobiano, Sabino,
Overo, or Tovero. Many Spotted Saddle Horses have the Tobiano
pattern, yet with bald or bonnet faces as found on Overo or
Sabino. Some also show ragged edges and isolated other type
spots on basically Tobiano type patterns. NSSHA insists that
all horses show spotted coloration.
But the best part of all is that the Spotted Saddle Horse
has an extremely comfortable gait. The required saddle gait
of the Spotted Saddle Horse includes the stepping pace, fox
trot, single foot, flat walk, running walk, pace, rack or
a combination of all gaits. The Spotted Saddle Horse can also
perform a canter, but cannot trot.
Of the 7 plus possible gaits found within the breed, the
Spotted Saddle Horse is only shown in three gaits: the Flat
Walk, the Show Pleasure, and the Canter. All three gaits must
be able to be performed as a four year old. Before the age
of 4, the horse must be able to perform at least 2 gaits.
In the Flat Walk, the horse should be striding behind and
breaking in front while picking up his feet smartly. The Show
Pleasure gait is simply the Flat Walk with a noticeable increase
in speed and added flashiness. When the horse is performing
the Canter, he should be under control at all times and should
always be on the correct lead.
Additionally, he should be able to do a Back In Line Up .
This requires that the horse backs up straight at all times
and should not throw his head or even open his mouth. However,
only keg shod horses can back. A keg shoe is a machine made
horseshoe that is available in various sizes. Most horses
wear this type of shoe.
There are several breed registries and with only minor exception,
these registries all still allow animals to be registered
that exhibit the spotted coat pattern and the smooth intermediate
The National Spotted Saddle Horse Association (NSSHA) that
was formed in 1979 serves as the official breed registry for
spotted, gaited horses and it keeps accurate records of all
spotted saddle horses that have ever been registered with
NSSHA. The NSSHA is dedicated to establishing a uniform breed
of saddle horse that is naturally gaited and that can perform
without the use of punishing training aids or substances.
The Spotted Saddle Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association
(SSHBEA) was established in 1985 to promote the Spotted Saddle
Horse and has established official rules for registering and
showing of the breed. The SSHBEA closed half of the studbooks
in 1999, so it is now a requirement that at least one parent
must be registered with SSHBEA in order to register the offspring.
The American Spotted Horse Association (ASHA) was established
in 1999 and its registry is based on promoting the sound,
gaited western style Spotted Horse.
If you are looking for a colorful, versatile, gentle, flashy
gaited horse, you may have just found it in the new Spotted
Author Resource:-> Crystal Eikanger is a writer for
classifieds of Spotted Saddle Horses for sale