Home / USA Horses / Spotted Saddle Horse

By Smith Northam

Last updated: 3rd June 2021

Spotted Saddle Horse


Smith Northam
Last updated: 3rd June 2021

The Spotted Saddle Horse is a breed of equines that developed in the United States. Known for their good looks, this is a ‘saddle-type’ horse that moves in an ‘ambling’ gait, in addition to the common ‘walking’ and ‘cantering’ gaits. The breed standards of this horse recognize only the ones that have pinto patterns.

Spotted Saddle Horse Pictures

Quick Information

Other Names SSH
Behavioral Characteristics Willing, docile, brave; overall noble temperament
Physical Traits Has a straight to slightly convex profile; the head is refined and medium-sized, with wide-set eyes and long, curve-tipped ears; the muscular neck is medium, muscular and arched, while the long shoulder is slightly sloping; they have a broad, muscled chest and legs ending in proportionate hooves
Coat Colors Breed standards allow all colors, but pinto markings must be present
Height/Size 14.3 – 16hands (adult)
Weight 900 to 1,100 pounds (410 to 500 kg)
Lifespan 25-30 years
Common Uses Dressage, Endurance, general riding, pleasure riding
Health Problems Generally healthy
Type Riding Horse, Sports Horse, Show Horse
Gaited Yes
Ancestors (Bloodlines) Morgan Horse, Standardbred Horse, Peruvian Paso, Missouri Fox Trotter, Paso Fino, Tennessee Walking Horse
Popular Traits Ambling gait, multi-talented, even personality, easy trainability, durable
Feeding/Diet General horse diet including hay, grass, grains, etc.
Country of Origin USA
Associations and Registries National Spotted Saddle Horse Association
Spotted Saddle Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association
Breed Standards

Video: Spotted Saddle Horse Championship Show

History and Development

The SSH originated in the central Tennessee as a cross between the Spanish small gaited pinto ponies and the other larger gaited breeds like the Morgan and the Standardbred horses. This selective breeding was purposely done to increase the size while still retaining the coloration and the gait. Initially, these new horses began to be used for trail and pleasure ridings.

After 1865, a few of the other gaited equine genes, including Peruvian Paso, Missouri Fox Trotter, Paso Fino, and Tennessee Walking Horse, were also added to the breed so as to bring additional smoothness in their movements.

Two registries, with one being the ‘National Spotted Saddle Horse Association’ (NSSHA) and the other – ‘Spotted Saddle Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association’ (SSHBEA), were founded in 1979 and 1985 respectively. They were formed to promote the breed, safeguard their natural gaits and coloration, as well as to prohibit the cruel practices against them.

Interesting Facts

  • Every year, in January, the National Spotted Saddle Horse Association hosts an annual open meeting and awards banquet where 15 members of NSSHA are also elected from the general members to serve on the current Board of Directors.

One response to “Spotted Saddle Horse”

  1. Dorothy Vandergriff says:

    Best ride ever. Wonderful disposition, my mare is so willing and forgiving of my inexpert riding. The perfect horse for riders with back and hip pain; you glide so very smoothly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletter