Saddlebreds vs. Walkers
It frustrates me to no end when people lump these two breeds together, so I just wanted to make an EDUCATIONAL thread to point out the differences. I don't mean to bash Saddlebreds or Walkers. I love both breeds.
I owned and showed Saddlebreds for 10 years before I got bored and got a Western trail horse. I never saw or heard of any abuse while I was involved in the industry. I literally never heard of anybody putting anything harmful on a Saddlebred's legs or hooves. The two things I hear people bashing about Saddlebred training methods are the chains and the stretchies. The chains are very light, and fit loosely around the pastern. Their purpose is to make the horse feel like he wants to lift his leg out of the chain simply because it's around his foot... not because it's hurting him. Some Walker people put motor oil and other corrosive materials on the pastern before putting their heavy chains on to cause the horse pain to make him lift his legs higher. That's completely different from how the Saddlebred chains are used. The other thing is the stretchies (a bungee cord connecting the two front legs together by fleece-covered straps around the pasterns). Honestly, I don't even see how anyone could think stretchies are abusive. They are there to build muscles in the leg - that's all. There's absolutely no pain involved.
One year, my barn went to a show in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It was a joint show for Saddlebreds and Walkers. While we were there, we witnessed all of the horrible things you hear about happening to the big lick Walkers. The amount of horses being abused at the show was really horrible. And the people who work at the show and the judges don't even attempt to get involved. My trainer refused to go back to that show.
I've boarded my horses alongside hundreds of Saddlebreds. I never witnessed any of those horses being abused. They all got turned out daily during the off season, and got a lot of exercise during the show season. I've boarded at the same barn as three Walkers. Two were flatshod trail horses. One was padded, beaten, and neglected.
I know that abuse goes on in every discipline. I know that. I'm not even going to deny that it happens in the Saddlebred industry. I'm just saying that I never saw anything in my ten years with Saddlebreds, and I saw a LOT of horrible things during my five days with Walkers. I also know that there are plenty of Walkers who are not abused at all.
So please don't start posting angry comments saying "Not every Walker owner is an abuser!" You're wasting your time, because I already said that. I realize that every discipline has abusers and non-abusers. I just think that the Walker industry has an enormous percentage of abusers compared to other disciplines.
Now I'll show you some pictures. I'm comparing a 5-Gaited Saddlebred to a Big Lick Walker. These are comparable classes - the big jackpot, the one everybody wants to win, the last class on Saturday night.
Here is a World Champion 5-Gaited Saddlebred:
Here is a video of the same horse:
Here is a World Champion Big Lick Walker:
I couldn't find a video of the same horse, but here is another Big Lick World Champion:
Now, I can completely understand how someone used to Quarter Horses or another stock breed can lump these breeds together. They both have naturally high headsets and tucked in noses, they can both be gaited, they have similar tails, and they both have high knee and hock action. But when you compare the two like I've just done, can you see the huge difference?
Look at the size of the pads/hooves. Look at the length of the stride, and how completely stretched out the Walker is. Look at how collected the Saddlebred is, in comparison. In the videos, look at how many strides the Saddlebred does in a single one of the Walker's strides. It's absolutely ridiculous.
The worst thing about the pictures, in my opinion, is the hind end. Look at the Saddlebred's shoulders and hindquarters. They're in a straight line. Now compare that to the Walker's shoulders and hindquarters. The hindquarters are wayyyy lower than the shoulders. Imagine the strain that position puts on the Walker's hind end.
I think the Saddlebred looks like a real horse. A hot, animated horse, but a real horse nonetheless. To me, the Walker looks like a caricature of a horse. How would you even draw a caricature of a Walker? There's nothing you can do to exaggerate it more.
Here is a picture of a young Saddlebred naturally carrying their head high and lifting their legs high. It looks suspiciously similar to the Saddlebreds in the show ring. I have yet to see a picture of a young, untouched Walker that looks anything like a padded Walker in the show ring. That alone should tell you how much more man-made and unnatural the Walkers are.
Woah... I'm sorry this is so long. I guess I got carried away.
Now, before people get angry, I'm going to state a few things again... I DON'T think all Walker owners are abusers. I DON'T hate Walkers. I DON'T think Saddlebreds are better than Walkers. I DO think there are more Walker abusers than Saddlebred abusers. I DO think the big lick Walkers look ridiculous and unnatural, whether you think they have been abused or not.
Feel free to respond with your thoughts, whether you agree with me or not.
I would particularly like to hear from someone who previously thought Saddlebreds and Walkers looked similar, and can now see the difference. That was the purpose of this thread.
I think that the "grouping" that people do is because they are both gaited horses, who are bred specifically for flashiness and gaits (making them BOTH man-made). I think they both look pretty hollow and bracing in the show ring. Almost all of the saddlebreds I have met and seen online have upside-down necks. Although I see your point completely, the TWH shows are a lot less natural and more abusive. But let's be honest, the only great horse breed that came out of america that is adored by all is the QH, there is no replacement for them so don't look down on people who are "used to QHs" they are one of the most important breeds in the world, up there with the WBs, TBs, and Arabs. And by the way, I happen to know an idiot saddlebred owner who doesn't give a **** about her horse.
In terms of a great build for a horse, I think of this: http://www.allstallionsdirectory.com...1/dw0011lg.jpg
I wasn't looking down on Quarter Horses at all - The only thing I said about them was that they are a lot different than Saddlebreds and Walkers. Am I wrong?
And seriously? The ONLY great horse breed to come out of America that is adored by all? That's a little snobby. Sure... They might be one of the most popular breeds in America, but that doesn't make them the greatest and it definitely doesn't make them the ONLY great breed.
You know ONE idiot Saddlebred owner? You don't think there are stuck-up people who don't care about their horses in every breed? I certainly think so.
Last thing... I know that they were BOTH created for their flashy gaits, but that wasn't what I meant by man-made. If that's what you consider man-made, then TBs were man-made for their speed, Arabs were man-made for their stamina, drafts were man-made for their strength... and so on. Almost all breeds were created for a specific purpose. What I meant by "man-made" is how the individual horses are changed from the time they are born to the time they are shown.
When I have the time, I will come back with an army of grovelling smileys for you, CM.
Saddlebreds were bred for riding(hence the name), bred for versatility. Way back in the day(and not too far back mind) before the horse was replaced by machinery on farms, a lot of farmers would work their Saddlers in the field and then ride them to the shows and show them at night... Send an email to the exec. secretary of the ASHA. He has some stories now. For many many years, up until after WWII the American Saddlebred was as practical a horse as you could get. They are hardy, intelligent, refined, and most of all a good ride. They are like a Lexus or Mercedes SUV(though American Made). A QH is like a good truck
The Quarter Horse is most definitely not the "only great horse breed to come out of America". They are great, I'll give them that. I have a token QH who is my Saddlebred's best bud. I learned to ride on one before I moved on to my Saddlebred. But we are not here to discuss QH vs ASB.
The necks are a product of breeding and way of going. Personally, since I am breeding for a high head carriage, along with a certain way of going, if I had a foal that looked like that bay, I'd be on suicide watch. I would have utterly failed at breeding. You could never expect that bay to travel anyway but long and low. You couldn't ask him to raise up, collect, and move like a Saddlebred. They are completely different. I bet that bay moved and looked very similar when he was a foal. Just like that lovely spotted colt looks and moves like a baby saddlebred should.
As for your friend, roro, a saddlebred does not make the owner. You said it yourself. She is an idiot who doesn't care about her horse. She likely wouldn't care about it if it were a QH or any other breed. She just happened to choose a Saddlebred. I am surrounded by people who don't care about their horses, and yes, some of those horses are Saddlebreds as well.
If you want to get into the practicality and success of the American Saddlebred, start at (edited, no links to other forums) and and I'll add more tomorrow. Look up "Wing Tempo" while you are at it. "Harry Callahan" American Saddlebreds are successful in everything from driving to dressage to mounted shooting.
I will also post exerpts from a book of "the Horse" printed back when the top American Breeds were Saddlebreds, Standardbreds, Walkers, TBs, QHs and Drafts about the development, way of going, and comparisons of the TWH and ASB fifty some odd years ago.
You expect people not to be angry when you generalize TWHs as more abused based on your own experiences but get angry when someone mentions that they met a bad saddlebred owner and do not adore the breed? Isn't that a tad ironic?
Almost all western horses are QHs, the whole industry basically depends on that breed, making them more "crucial". I didn't say they were the greatest horses. I have never owned a QH, but it is easy to see that they are very important. I did not say they were superior at all.
A gaited horse is more "artificial" than another horse. The wild horses that all modern horses decended from did NOT gait at all. The standard horse breeds we have now (TBs, QH,s etc) are simply selected breeding on trying to improve the horse for human use, they did not invent an entirely new gait for a horse to do.
LadyDreamer: the horse picture I showed is a Dutch Warmblood, ie one of the main breeds that are at the top dressage shows. You sure as hell can't convince me that a Dutch WB "can't collect".
Well this thread certainly is interesting. I think the first picture of the saddlebred looks natural. Well, what I mean is that it looks normal for that build of horse, with that kind of head carriage. But the Big Lick horse, when I saw that, I thought it was scary. I'm not familiar with any of these breeds cause I'm Australian but I think that the big lick horse looks forced to do that. These horses were bred for a specific purpose, and now I think people are trying to take the high-stepping factor a bit too far. Sure, they do have a lot of action in their hocks and knees, but shouldn't it be a natural stepping action? I think that some of the cruel acts that those horrible owners do is just....terrible. Sorry if I sound uninformed, its just cause I am :) This is just my opinion based on what I've read from here.
And one question?
What is Big Lick?
Gidji, "Performance horses exhibit a very flashy and animated running walk, often referred to as "big lick." They appear to sit on their hind ends, lifting their front end high off the ground. " From: Tennessee walking horse: Definition from Answers.com
In response to roro.
It is common knowledge that many Padded Show Walkers undergo serious abuse in their career. It is a common fault for people to compare the padded show walker and the American Saddlebred in a negative light. The discussion here was intended for the apparent similarities between the TWO breeds, and the vast, gaping differences between them.
By the way, it would not be ironic. It would be hyppocritical to generalize and then get mad over a generalization. Even though it is not either. Irony would be like a strict vegetarian being turned into a vampire.
We were not saying "Oh all saddlebred owners love their pookies." at all. We were saying that just because your friend does not care about her saddlebred was not because of the breed. The breed was not the cause of the neglect. She would likely do that to any horse regardless of breed. When neglect, abuse, or mishandling of horses occurs, breed has less bearing than species. She doesn't care about the horse. Not because of the breed. Neither of us were angry over your statement. We both merely pointed out that the breed does not make the owner. A quarter horse wouldn't make that person take better care of her horse. A $100k Swedish Warmblood wouldn't make her care more about the horse(well it might because money talks). Quite frankly, a person who neglects a horse regardless of breed is the lowest form of life to me.
As for collection. That Swedish WB could never collect and move like a Saddlebred. You stopped reading before you got to the "like a Saddlebred" part. It will move like a SWB. And have at it. That is a non-issue here.
Gaited horses have been around for ages. Roman soldiers rode gaited horses. In Roman times, only peasants rode horses that could only trot. Those horses were referred to as "Torture Horses". You cannot "invent" genetics. If it was not natural for a horse to gait, then we wouldn't have it.
"The Standard Horse Breeds"? Whose standard are you following? The reason there ARE so many breeds out there is because not everyone LIKES the same things. I have friends of all ilk. I have friends who likes grade horses, one who like rockies, one who loves minis, another who lives for QHs, I have a Fresian Friend, a TWH friend, and I have just started talking to someone who works with Icelandics. I have a friend who works for a large TB breeding training facility. And of course I have lots of Saddlebred loving friends. I don't think any less of my other friends for liking what they do. I try to convert them every chance I get, but I never outright insult them for liking something different.
You know, your standard horse breeds should always start with the Arab. Afterall we couldn't have had TBs without the Arab. We also could not have had the American Saddlebred OR the American QH without the TB(and thus Arab). The American Saddler wasn't a recognized breed type until roughly 76 years after the first TBs were introduced to the Colonies. Famous recognized Saddle Horse Cincinatti was by the fastest horse of the time. And thank you Thoroughbreds for giving me the breed I love today. To me personally, the TB is obsolete, as it has been improved to my liking in the American Saddlebred.
This topic wasn't intended for "Saddlebreds vs the World". It was intended for two commonly confused horses and their backgrounds, similiarities, and differences.
Roro, I am very glad that you like what you like. This is a diverse world, and I accept that you like what you do. What you like would be considered "wrong" or "incorrect" in my world, just as how I want my horses to be is "incorrect" in yours. There is nothing wrong with being different. There is no "end all" horse breed for everyone. Else these discussions on personal preference would never occur.
I personaily LOVE the saddlebred breed and own a saddlebred cross. They have to be one of the most versital breeds (in my opinion) and as for the show ring look so beautiful and natural as for the abuse and mishandleing I'm sure there is a lot of it as there is in every breed and you also have to look at the politics in just about every breed type shows (its rediculious) I myself don't show I'm more of an endurance rider myself and just go to local hunter paces that are pretty much for fun but I have been to a few show and the walkers just don't fasinate me as the saddlers. I have been to a few walker show barns and its rediculous what they do to them poor horses really heavy chains are put around their feet and left on for long periods and all the soreing one stallion is now lame from all that they did to him. How can people who suposeably "love" their horses do somethin so painful to them? I know not all walker show people hurt their horses I know a few that show the right way and not sore or mishandle their horses in any way. I'm just saying that you hear about WAY more abuse in the walkin horse shows than you do in the saddlebred shows around here
Also, I didn't get angry about the face that you don't like Saddlebreds. I don't care if you don't like them. The only things I was annoyed about was your comment about QHs and about the ONE bad Saddlebred owner. Then I told you what I meant about man-made, and I wasn't angry about that at all. I never said anything about you not liking them.
And again, that isn't what I meant by man-made.
Well said : ]
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