07-09-2012, 11:22 PM
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Yes, Saddlebreds are incredible if you can find an old style one. For the most part the breed today is a shadow of what it once was over 100 years ago. Breeding for show has resulted in (my opionion) negative changes. It's much less common to find them with the dense, heavy cannon bones they had in the mid 1800's (but they weren't know as Saddlebreds then, but Saddlers, Saddlehorses or Kentucky Saddlers, etc....) and even in the 1890's when the breed name was established. You also far to many of them them not naturally gaited (i.e. No training needed, they just gait naturally) which was the norm originally and one of the things that made them one of the darlings of mounted troops back then as well as plantation owners. As a breed they were once noted for the ability to ride over 50 miles a day for multiple days and be as fit the next day as the day before. Takes a good horse to be able to do that for a week. Not even most endurance riders would do over 50 miles a day for 5 days and expect a horse to hold up for a battle on day 6.
It is a pity that the for the sake of creating show horses the breed as whole as been so altered.
As for fixing the tail. Even that is something that wasn't always needed. I've had my youngest Saddlebred cross since she was a filly and she's never had anything done with her tale. She'll run through the pasture with her tail held high like a flag pole, the hair falling to one side and flowing behind her, but her cousin, my older mare, same breeding with different bloodlines, never lifts her tail except slightly to pass gas, poop or propted for a temp check.
I only we could have kept the breed as what it had been before the show breeders got started on them.