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Saddlebreds Going The Distance


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#1 saddlebred gal

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 10:46 PM

Hello All!
I'm a "newbie" to the blackhorse forums, and I keep finding new and interesting places to chat, such as this one. I raise American Saddlebreds, and have been getting a lot of calls from people asking questions about the conformation of my horses concerning Endurance riding. I'm somewhat of a "non-disciplinarian" when it comes to what I "do" with my Saddlebreds, and like to focus more on communication on the ground and in that saddle, versus the style of riding. But we do want to have horses that are capable of doing many things. We don't "show" Saddlebreds, but got more into the breeding, focusing on the older thoroughbred-influenced lines with lots of X-factor genes, so that we could perhaps get back to the heavier-boned, more athletic horse that the Saddlebred used to be. My question is- if the bloodlines are there, what do you look for in conformation, movement, and attitude for a horse to be a good candidate for "going the distance?" We spend a lot of time with our horses, encouraging them to be confident and curious. We have a huge pond that they love to swim in. Our farm doesn't have one level acre on it, so they get to sail around up and down in their pasture, which we hope is more beneficial then detrimental. But I sure would like to hear opinions from people that are actually involved in this sport, so I can make adjustments to my thought process if I'm not quite on the right track here with my breeding. I have a website that is listed on my personal page, and would sure appreciate any of you all that are familiar with the Saddlebred in the Endurance venue to take a look and let me know if I'm at least "headed" in the right direction of trying to "build" a better athlete in the Saddlebred breed. Thanks, ahead of time, for any of you that take the time to get back to me. I look forward to chatting more on the subject!

#2 paulsidio

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 11:40 PM

[quote name='saddlebred gal' date='Apr 14 2007, 10:46 PM' post='302185']
Hello All!
RE: "and like to focus more on communication on the ground and in that saddle, versus the style of riding. But we do want to have horses that are capable of doing many things. We don't "show" Saddlebreds, but got more into the breeding, focusing on the older thoroughbred-influenced lines with lots of X-factor genes, so that we could perhaps get back to the heavier-boned, more athletic horse that the Saddlebred used to be."

I have friends that ride Saddlebreds in Endurance. There are generally a couple of things to watch for with Saddlebreds (on average)

#1) Get their head on straight. Get them to relax and just ride instead of race.

#2) Work on building their condition up enough so their heart rate will drop down at the vet checks. Actually the heart rate thing is part mental too. They need to relax when they come in.

#3) Through training, take that big trot and turn it into length instead of height.

It sounds like you are doing most of the right things. Running up and down hills builds a lot more leg bone and air than standing in a stall all day. It is also much better for their brain.

Go to endurance .net and read /search the Ridecamp for posts on what to look for in an Endurance horse. #1 is heart, #2 is brains/sense. #3 is less important. AERC.org has some articles about beginning endurance too.

Have fun, because To Finish Is To Win

Paul N. Sidio
Spokane MO

#3 saddlebred gal

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 10:32 AM

Thanks SO Much!
Your advice is so very helpful to the goal that we want to establish for helping folks see the versatility of the Saddlebred. I appreciate so much the direction to the website, and will definitely check that out.

#4 clipclopalong

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 12:37 PM

the saddlebred of yesterday didn't move high until they were trained to with the shoeing. Today many move high from birth. I have one that I wouldn't try to distance ride because she is more like a hackney in her movement and it is natural and she uses too much energy just moving. I have another filly that would make a great distance horse. She has a up and out kind of trot, not a daisy cutter. I think a daisy cutter expends too much energy too because they are limited. But a horse that can extend themselves with a reasonable shoulder roll first would be much more comfortable to ride and is a more natural way to go, covering the most ground with the least expendature of energy. Saddlebreds that haven't been shown in the Saddlebred world are quite relaxed horses and really love the trail. Breed for disposition too. Perhaps a more working topline instead of a table top one but legs are the name of the game for distance riding. They are hard to find today in Saddlebreds. I know what you are talking about in the bone of yesterday. I remember that so well. Depth of body, width of chest, and good legs along with free movement. That is what makes the best endurance horse.

#5 saddlebred gal

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 04:01 PM

It really is difficult to find a Saddlebred with the substance for distance, like you've said. We've found that out in our search for broodmares, as it is our belief that the mare's contribute a great amount to the "product." For the life of me, I do not understand why so many folks place a higher emphasis on the genetics of the stallion and pay little or no attention to the genetics of the mare. I think both are important, myself. We like to call the mares that we have "elegant linebackers." And so far, they seem to be producing what we're hoping for in an athletic horse. Big boned, broad, tall... and smart. Our riding arena is serving as a temporary maternity ward for two of our mares and their offspring that were born this year. It is filled with plastic barrels, logs and all kinds of things that I use in working with my horses to ensure that they learn to go "over, under, and through." Well, these two little colts are quite interested in all these "toys," and just the other day, I was walking along the outside rail, and this little two month old colt is trotting along and ever so gracefully leaps over a plastic barrel that was laying on its side. I think that's about 24" in height. And he was SOOOO impressed with himself that he turned around and did it AGAIN. Of course, as usual, my camera was at the house. But..... it is such a good thing to see a youngster already so willing to try new things. None of the Saddlebreds that we've raised have been to the showring, and their dispositions are ones of "well..... what are we going to do NEXT....?" which is just the nicest thing to have in a horse, because in my opinion, you can't do very much with a horse that doesn't have much "want to."

#6 Renae

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 04:28 PM

QUOTE(clipclopalong @ Apr 15 2007, 01:37 PM) View Post
the saddlebred of yesterday didn't move high until they were trained to with the shoeing. Today many move high from birth. I have one that I wouldn't try to distance ride because she is more like a hackney in her movement and it is natural and she uses too much energy just moving. I have another filly that would make a great distance horse. She has a up and out kind of trot, not a daisy cutter. I think a daisy cutter expends too much energy too because they are limited. But a horse that can extend themselves with a reasonable shoulder roll first would be much more comfortable to ride and is a more natural way to go, covering the most ground with the least expendature of energy. Saddlebreds that haven't been shown in the Saddlebred world are quite relaxed horses and really love the trail. Breed for disposition too. Perhaps a more working topline instead of a table top one but legs are the name of the game for distance riding. They are hard to find today in Saddlebreds. I know what you are talking about in the bone of yesterday. I remember that so well. Depth of body, width of chest, and good legs along with free movement. That is what makes the best endurance horse.



LOL, by yesterday can you tell me what time period you mean?

CH Imperator 1980's


Cora's Time 1970's



CH Denmark's Daydream 1960's (I recall reading somewhere that Daydream was shown barefoot behind)

A horse needs to move correctly and perform in motion to be of any true value.

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#7 Renae

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 04:30 PM

CH The Lemon Drop Kid 1950's


Stonewall Supreme 1940's

CH Roxie Highland 1930's


Chief of Longview 1920's

clipclopalong usually the areguement is exactly opposite of what you are saying, that yesterday's horses moved well with no extra shoeing and today's horses wear "clown shoes"


A horse needs to move correctly and perform in motion to be of any true value.

Renae Wesenberg
Hawk Nest, LLC
KWPN Dutch Harness Horses

#8 paulsidio

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 09:11 PM

RE: "Depth of body, width of chest, and good legs along with free movement. That is what makes the best endurance horse. "

My little 14'2 Arab has no chest to speak of , has to use a 20 inch english fleece girth ( try and find those sometime), and wears 00 shoes in front and 000 in back. He does very well.

My friend rides a retired NSH mare " Scarlett D'affair" that we rescued from a one way trip to the bad place. When she first started training for endurance, she had that huge show horse trot. A lot of endurance riders thought she would never achieve much due to wasting all that energy. Training turned height of trot into length. She also has crooked knees. That hasn't helped her nor hurt her too bad. She is now 17 and still going strong. She has
a heart as big as Texas, and the fire inside to keep going.

My point is that in endurance, some can put too much importance on classical conformation, and not enough on brains and heart. Watch the Olympics. Look at the Marathon runners during the opening ceremonies. Compare them to the sprinters and milers they walk in with. Would you bet on them to win the Marathon based on depth of chest, amount of bone and body mass? Look who usually wins.. Some scrawny guy who looks like a famine victim.

Endurance riding is the horse version of marathons.

Paul N. Sidio
Spokane MO

#9 clipclopalong

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 10:47 PM

QUOTE(Renae @ Apr 15 2007, 05:30 PM) View Post

clipclopalong usually the areguement is exactly opposite of what you are saying, that yesterday's horses moved well with no extra shoeing and today's horses wear "clown shoes"


I'm not saying that the horse of yesterday weren't great athlete's, they truly were. But many times the trot was developed through training and not high going before training. My mother was a proffessional rider during the 40's. She would show up at a show and get hired to ride whatever horses needed riders.

In the 70's I saw many Saddlebred breeding programs and from what I saw the horses were not as extreme as they are now from birth. It was trained into them later. So if you wanted to make a Saddlebred a dressage horse you could. Maybe not all Saddlebreds but most. In reference to the two horses I have today, the one could not make a dressage horse because all she knows is the extremem trot, even though she was never trained, it is just there. The other mare however is extremely elegant and would make a great 3 gaited horse but on her own, barefoot with no training she prefers to travel round and long. Not high. But that doesn't mean she can't travel high with training. In fact of my two horses I suspect the latter one has more potential in the ring than the high moving one does. I hope that makes sense.


#10 eganslick

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Posted 17 April 2007 - 12:34 AM

QUOTE(Renae @ Apr 15 2007, 04:30 PM) View Post
CH The Lemon Drop Kid 1950's


Stonewall Supreme 1940's

CH Roxie Highland 1930's


Chief of Longview 1920's

clipclopalong usually the areguement is exactly opposite of what you are saying, that yesterday's horses moved well with no extra shoeing and today's horses wear "clown shoes"

Renae
Was just wondering if you had copies of any other old photos I am still searching for about 25 for a picture pedigree I am doing?
Thank you for listening
Pat

#11 Jlwarabs

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Posted 17 April 2007 - 01:13 AM

Saddlebred Gal-
I am not particulalry familiar with saddlebreds, but what you are describing that you breed for is very similar to what the arab breeders are after who breed for endurance. Solid sane horses with good forward movement. What you would have to find out simply by trying it is wether they have decent heart rate recoveries, vet well, enjoy the sport etc... There are saddlebreds on the endurance trail, and there are several NSH's out there. Most people avoid the very tall ones simply due to the structure of the trail. I have to duck plenty on my 15 h. arab, on a 17 h. horse I can think of spots on the trail that I would be in trouble on due to low branches, down trees etc... But 16 h. night be nice.
So anyway- if you have folks interested in your horses as endurance prospects, I would tell them you think they have the conformation and personality to be suitable, but they are untested metabolically. Once a few from your breeding program are out there and doing well, then you can offer them as proof.
Good luck- one of the great things about endurance is how open it is to breeds and types of horses.
Jennifer
Mystic Rose Arabians
Endurance and Sport Horses


#12 Samrdr1

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Posted 17 April 2007 - 11:29 AM

We sold a mare Susie Santana to Far Field Farm in California as an endurance horse. She has been on 4 rides and placed in the top three. She had all day go power and could keep up with the throughorobreds on my husbands fox hunts. Here is a yearling pic of her. There is a fox hunt photo on Far field farm's website.Many ASB's have an unusually large heart that comes down the generations fron the famous racehorse Eclipse. These should make great endurance horses. I grew up on a Montana cattle ranch and the working horses we used were all ASB, except for my half Arab mare.
Sue

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Elmo BELIEVE this : " I've seen Jesus twice and I think I have fecal matter in my pants" A member of the Coal valley Hunt after a run

#13 saddlebred gal

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Posted 17 April 2007 - 11:56 PM

QUOTE(Jlwarabs @ Apr 17 2007, 01:13 AM) View Post
Saddlebred Gal-
I am not particulalry familiar with saddlebreds, but what you are describing that you breed for is very similar to what the arab breeders are after who breed for endurance. Solid sane horses with good forward movement. What you would have to find out simply by trying it is wether they have decent heart rate recoveries, vet well, enjoy the sport etc... There are saddlebreds on the endurance trail, and there are several NSH's out there. Most people avoid the very tall ones simply due to the structure of the trail. I have to duck plenty on my 15 h. arab, on a 17 h. horse I can think of spots on the trail that I would be in trouble on due to low branches, down trees etc... But 16 h. night be nice.
So anyway- if you have folks interested in your horses as endurance prospects, I would tell them you think they have the conformation and personality to be suitable, but they are untested metabolically. Once a few from your breeding program are out there and doing well, then you can offer them as proof.
Good luck- one of the great things about endurance is how open it is to breeds and types of horses.
Jennifer


Thank you, Jennifer- because I don't fully understand the ins and outs yet of endurance, I sure appreciate any little tidbit that will help me determine the suitability of the sport where my horses are concerned. Thanks so very much!


#14 maz

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 10:15 AM

i usually suggest when learning about distance riding to go volunteer at rides, and maybe start with some novice competitive trail rides pre you first limited distance endurance. but just observing and volunteering is very educational. there are several CTR organizations in the U.S. one is on the web at www.natrc.org

if your idea is to market horses as distance horses being at rides and learning about people in the organization and the styles etc many different individuals look at for distance riding will help.

#15 Annabella

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 10:47 AM

saddlebred gal,

Welcome to ABlackHorse! I took a look at your webpage and I noticed that you are not far from me. I am near London, Kentucky. London is fairly close to the Kentucky/Tennessee border. My husband works in Harrogate, Tennessee and we are becoming more and more familiar with that area. We almost purchased a farm in Speedwell a year ago, but, ultimately, I decided to stay in this area of Kentucky because my father became ill. I am always on the look-out for horsepeople near me.

Anyway, I thought that I would say, "Hello!"

Angela
annabellarose@gmail.com


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