Saddleseat Myths...haters need to read this.

So, some people have heard of, or ride - like myself - Saddleseat. I’m sure you’ve heard of it…the big, “hot” Saddlebreds, the elegant appearance and animation. So exciting!
Well, it’s getting hated on by misinformed equestrians. So to separate the rights from wrongs, I felt the need to post this.
Myth 1
How many times can I say this?! We are NOT a part of TWH abuse. Soring is illegal here, so are big licks. Unlike other breeds, hence why we can only use certain breeds for it, our horses have NATURAL animation. That’s right, that pretty saddlebred over there with his high motion? That’s all him. We use horseshoes for protection of the hoof, too. The main gait of a saddleseat horse is the trot, how can a sored horse soundly trot? They CAN’T. Gosh. Also, the same with head and tailset. Natural.
• set tails
Guys, nicking tails is a thing of the past. Most barns take vet wrap, painlessly set the tail with the wrap and take it off a little bit later. The tail goes back down quickly. Like my gelding, they “set” their tails to an “unnatural” state when they’re excited or “hot”. Shocker.
We don’t really have the need to do this anyway, the tails are naturally high.
• Chains/Stacking
Again, we do NOT use pads for animation. The reason I use pads on one of my geldings front hooves is because he’s a little off-balance in his leg length and it’s just to even him out, so to speak.
GAH, the ranters know nothing about us.
• TWHs
The only reason we are associated with them and their BLs/soring abuse is because they have animation and cutback saddles. Their horses have to have forced animation, ours don’t.
• horses are out of control
The horses are not freaking outta their minds. ASBs are bred to have that “hot horse” look. Also, whites of their eyes showing is also a natural ASB trait. It’s NOT fear.
• saddles
We use cutback saddles to let the horse extend their motion without limits from the tack. It can NOT hurt the horse. The saddle sits off of the spine and off of important/close-to-the-saddle-area organs too.
So let me sum this up. The Saddlebred horses have naturally high headset, leg motion and tail set. They also have very friendly personalities - many compare them to giant dogs. We do not sore or cause pain to the horses to get motion because it is NATURAL. The easiest way to explain the tail is: you know how Arabs always hold their tails up when they’re excited? This is the same thing. Our saddles are not harmful in any way, we are NOT a part of the TWH shows/abuse, we do not use stacks, Big Licks, soring or anything of the like, they are not crazy or fearful, and everyone should read this. Show this to any saddleseat hater.

Although there are some differences of opinion, most people who ride Saddle Seat refer to the discipline as two separate words. FYI I grew up riding Saddle Seat (actually ‘balanced seat’ but showed in Saddle Seat equitation back in the 1960’s). Since then I have also branched out into Hunt Seat and Dressage, but I mention this so you’ll know I do know what Saddle Seat is all about. Your ‘information’ on tails actually is not correct, but OK, whatever.

p.s. Welcome to CoTH. It is not usually a good idea to make your very first contribution to the forum so ‘flamingly’ in your face and 'chip on the shoulder’ish. I do agree with you that some people do not understand the difference between TWH and Saddlebreds. Bear in mind that other breeds also are ridden Saddle Seat, including Arabians, Half-Arabians, National Show Horses and Morgans.

There are good and bad in every breed. I know some excellent arab/saddlebred people that have very versatile horses that I think quite a bit of. I have looked at the one stallion multiple times to cross my straight TB mares to as he is absolutely lovely and has a joyous temperment and mind you I am not an arab person per se, but I really like him. One of the best dressage tests (and by best I mean it looked like the horse was really enjoying himself) was done by an ASB. He was performing at PSG and everyone gave him kudos. He truly looked like he was having a blast and definitely put on a test that even non dressage fans could enjoy. My DH made the comment that he was having fun. Yep what it’s all about. Have another friend that shows arabs in the pleasure shows and yep, they don’t go for all the hype either. Nice enjoyable horses.

Only recently assisted an ASB and Arab lady at a show, well, I was disgusted at what she would do to try to win. The ginger in the rectum to get the tail permanently up, padded feet on her saddlebred and warming up with chains to get the animation. No, they don’t naturally have that animation, it must be taught. Her horses basically live in tail setsand are nicked beneath. It is STILL DONE ! Plus she lets her horses grow horrendously long toes because she says that increases their action. An ignorant person indeed. I quit halfway through the day for various reasons, but the treatment was the main reason. A normally shod saddlebred moves in a lot different manner than a padded one.

However, to each his own.

Would it be wrong to say even if everything you say were true, which I don’t believe it is, it still looks dumb?

If you have a specific rule dealing with what to do when a horse throws a shoe in the middle of the class you have a problem. Or when you have to band the shoe on. Although not just exclusive to saddlebreds I think it’s bizzare.

I was amazed the first time I saw an entire class halt and a farrier run into the ring to nail a shoe back on.

The arabian people have very strict regulations about shoes for a reason and I still think the shoeing is extreme.

Arabian rules:

AR103 Shoeing Regulations.

  1. Horses less than two years of age must be shown barefoot. Horses two years of age
    may be shown with a shoe in accordance with AR103.2. However, the use of a pad(s) of
    any type or configuration between hoof and shoe is strictly prohibited.
  2. Any machine made shoe (keg), or handmade shoe made of magnetic steel, mild steel,
    aluminum, rubber or other non-metallic shoe is allowed. No part of the shoe may exceed the
    dimensions of 3/8 inch thick by 1 1/8 inches wide (nail heads and/or toe clips are not considered
    when measuring the shoe). Aluminum, rubber or other non-metallic shoes are exempt
    from the dimension requirements. The shoe may be of any type and configuration except in
    the case of a bar shoe, the bar may not extend below the ground surface of the shoe. If a
    shoe band is used, it may be attached to the shoe, or the pad if present.
  3. Maximum length of toe is 4 1/2" for purebred Arabians. Maximum length of toe is 5" for
    Half-Arabians and Anglo-Arabians.
  4. The use of pad(s) (either full or partial, including rim) made of leather or plastic, is
    allowed as long as the overall length of toe measurement (See GR510) does not exceed
    the maximum toe length of 4 1/2" for purebred Arabians or 5" for Half-Arabians and Anglo-
    Arabians. The introduction of a foreign material within the pad, between the pad and shoe or
    between the pad and hoof (other than accepted packing material such as oakum, pine tar,
    silicone, foam rubber, etc.) designed to add additional weight or enhance action is strictly
    prohibited. Material with anti-concussive qualities (such as rubber, silicone, latex, etc.) may
    be used between the pad and hoof for additional support, provided such material does not
    extend beyond the inner rim (edge) of the shoe.
  5. At the discretion of a judge or a steward officiating at a licensed Arabian competition, or
    at the request of the Show Committee (See GR1201) inspection (including measuring the
    shoe, measurement of hoof length, and presence of a pad) of shoes, pad(s) and/or hoof
    length may be required. Shoes and pads, if present, cast after entering or before exiting the
    arena in any class shall be inspected.

Again, we do NOT use pads for animation. The reason I use pads on one of my geldings front hooves is because he’s a little off-balance in his leg length and it’s just to even him out, so to speak. [/QUOTE]

Can you explain exactly how you use pads to “even out” your horse? Do you put one pad on just one foot?

You sound like you ride at a good barn with an ethical trainer. That’s not the case with every barn/trainer (in any breed/discipline, but we are specifically talking about ASBs.)

FWIW the shoes/pads thing not affecting movement is simply untrue and greatly speaks to your (lack of) credibility.

Nice try, but not quite accurate. I’ve had ASBs forever, and the trainer I ride with 3X longer than that.

First, shoes and pads are used to increase animation.

Second, tails are still cut. My trainer one of the best in the business at it.

Given those basic (incorrect) premises you’ve acquired, I question how good your trainer actually is.

I do understand your frustration at listening to the same crap/lies from uneducated idiots. Then there are the haters (Laurierace comes to mind :lol:) who will never like anything about the breed/discipline. Fair enough, I’d rather watch paint dry than see a hunter class. Too each his own.

Yeah, I only like MY discipline. Which is racing, dressage, stadium jumping, cross country jumping, combined training, hunter pace, paper chase, hunter breeding to name a few. All with the same horse I may add.

Nothing any saddleseat person is going to say is going to change your opinion, so my point was, there really isn’t any point in trying. Or any point in getting upset about your opinion of what we do. Nothing more was intended.

You threw it out there, don’t get your knickers in a knot if someone picks it up.

we did for a pony that was being used in competitive trail rides; my daughter complained that her saddle was always lipping to the right. We put the pony on a concrete drive, took measurements to find out that his right front leg was just over one inch shorter than his left front. Rather than cut his left front down we added a pad to the right front. No more saddle slippage

I’ll take a medium popcorn, light on the butter and salt…thanks.

Do you turn your horses out? Always wondered that. I believe what you say, that there are ethical trainers and well treated horses. I believe it takes great skill to ride that discipline well and that aspect is under rated.

I did have saddle bred training barns in my area and the horses were kept in relatively dark barns unless they were being worked. They were not turned out, their hooves were very long, they wore tail sets and often wore neoprene rubber neck coverings to slim the neck. Yes, the horses were well fed, good vet care etc and maybe their owners loved them. I don’t think that is a lifestyle that a horse enjoys. Just describing what I saw.

I think chains look cruel but are actually probably not if they are used in training …they function as a kind of weight that the horse gets used to. The long hooves bother me more .

we had one like that also, sold him as I got tired of hunting for him as he raced across the pastures, jumping everything that was in his way to avoid capture

There are smart and ethical trainers who ‘let down’ the show horses in the Winter, put plain plates on and turn them out. There also are show horses of the ‘Country Pleasure’ division in Saddlebreds, whose rules prohibit pads on hooves. Those horses quite often are turned out. The Country Pleasure division includes saddle seat, hunt seat and driving classes.

You keep using the word “natural”. Saddleseat, in my eyes, is the most unnatural-looking thing we can do with a horse. It hurts my back and neck just to look at.

Thanks for the info!

Imo, extremes are taken by some trainers in every discipline at the expense of the horse, so singling out one is perhaps unfair.

[QUOTE=Countrywood;7395147]Thanks for the info!

Imo, extremes are taken by some trainers in every discipline at the expense of the horse, so singling out one is perhaps unfair.[/QUOTE]

Maybe not unfair when the talk IS about that one discipline?:wink:

I don’t know how they do what they do, how much is bred to do it, how much training and “tricks of the trade” go into it, but to someone not used to those kinds of horses, they do look very strange, not at all, as someone said, “natural” … for a horse.:eek:

Not any different really than western pleasure horses, that crab along strangely, legs barely moving, about to fall over, the other extreme of some of those wildly active, oddly goose-stepping, rapidly motoring gaited horses.

Extremes are just that, extremes of what we may consider more natural, not that much we do with horses is that much of it “natural”, just as what we humans do has been long past what is “natural” for us.

All of us, humans and our animals, have evolved/been bred with a good capacity to adapt to all kinds of environments, no matter how strange.
Some are just more strange than others.:yes:

I’ve seen Saddlebreds who’d lost their tongues from having been tied down, abscesses from dirty or ill-fitting tail bustles, and terrible contracted heels.

I’ve seen horses warmed up blindfolded. I’ve seen the surgical tubing attached to front legs to get that “snappy” action. I’ve seen the chains and the weights and the crazy shoes & pads.

That said, I’ve heard there ARE Saddle Seat trainers who are kind and attentive to their horse’s needs. I don’t THINK these are mythological creatures. They actually exist – somewhere.

The OP sounds like she hasn’t been around long enough to see what goes on behind the scenes. Questionable or abusive practices happen in every discipline and there are and will always be the naive folks who defend the whole breed/discipline. Sounds like OP is bored and snowed in like the rest of us, or maybe just trolling for fun.