Spotted Saddle are light riding horses from the United
States. They were developed from small gaited pinto ponies of Spanish ancestry.
These were crossed with larger American breeds such as the Morgan and
Standardbred, developed after the American Revolution, to increase size while
retaining coloration and the desired gait. After the American Civil War,
additional gaited blood was added, with contributing breeds including the
Tennessee Walking Horse, Missouri Fox Trotter, Paso Fino, and Peruvian Paso.
Mustangs from the American West were also incorporated. Originally developed in
central Tennessee, and selectively bred for pinto coloration, they were used
for general pleasure and trail riding. The result is a colorful, smooth-gaited
horse, used in the show ring and for pleasure and trail riding.
They always have pinto coloring. They always perform an
ambling gait, rather than a trot, in addition to the gaits of walk and canter,
performed by all breeds.
Two registries have been created, one in 1979 and the other
in 1985. The two have similar registration requirements, although one has an
open stud book and the other is slightly stricter with regard to parentage
requirements, having a semi-closed stud book.
Spotted Saddle Horses are a gaited breed, meaning that they
perform an intermediate -speed ambling gait instead of the trot. The flat walk,
or show walk, is a regular four - beat walk, covering 4 to 8 miles per hour
(6.4 to 12.9 km/h). The show gait is also a four-beat gait, similar to the flat
walk with the exception of the speed. Horses traveling at a show gait can cover
10 to 20 miles per hour (16 to 32 km/h), with an extremely smooth motion. The
third main gait is the canter, a three-beat gait performed by all breeds. Some
members of the Spotted Saddle Horse breed can also perform the rack, stepping
pace, fox-trot, single-foot or other variations of ambling gaits, all
intermediate gaits, but differentiated by the pattern of foot-falls.