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Letter to the Editor - ASHA considering new rules

To the Editor:


The ASHA is fortunate to have good dedicated people with the right intentions serving on the board, but many are concerned about the board's latest decisions.  The Board members and a few invited past officers met recently to discuss problems and possible solutions concerning the American Saddlebred. 

The results that came from this meeting are the following suggestions. (1) The promotion of our breed as a Sport Horse as a plan to open up a new market. The statement, “A show horse is a sport horse and a sport horse is a show horse” was included in the ASHA Convention booklet. Also the Sport Horse is highlighted in the ASHA Directory. (2) One of the pressing concerns the board discussed is the negative perception the public has of our breed. Perhaps the board believes that this is the result of the cut tails and crooked tails seen in the ring. The board's plan is to add a two-year old class with natural tails for the 2006 Kentucky State Fair World Championship Show.  It is stated in the new ASHA Directory that natural tails will be a requirement for two-years old by 2008. Their explanation for this ruling is to give owners an additional time period to evaluate their stock before cutting tails.  (3) Another concern is the low number of colts that were registered in 2005,   (4) It is rumored that a possible ruling for shoeing was also discussed by this group.

These decisions have brought the American Saddlebred to a crossroad. This industry should approach these decisions with caution before changing the Peacock of the ring forever.  Please STOP! LOOK! LISTEN!

1.)    Sport Horses that have been thoroughly trained bring good prices.
2.)    Prospects yet to be trained as Sport Horses bring low prices.
3.)    Training Sport Horses is a slow process and involves an extended commitment.
4.)    Some Saddlebreds will excel at this task, most will not.
5.)    The majority of Saddlebreds are not physically adept to perform this task.
6.)    The majority of Saddlebreds do not have the temperament to perform this task.
7.) Is there a danger of encouraging breeding toward the objective of changing the physical attributes of this breed?  Would that be detrimental for The American Saddlebred?
8.) Is the ruling on not cutting two-year-old tails beneficial? Isn't the quality of conformation apparent by the second year?  Isn't it obvious by that time if there is any talent?  Shouldn't a two-year-old that is going to be shown at our World Championship Show have that conformation and talent? Isn't this the show for the best of the best?
9.)  Couldn't an educational promotion “CUT TAILS, WHY AND HOW” be the answer to the public's view of our cut tails?  Instead of changing our ways, why not change the public's view?  Should we  change this breed because of outsiders' opinions?
10.) Wouldn't an educational forum on the proper care of cut tails and use of  tailsets at the ASHA and UPHA Conventions be wise?  Would a video on this subject be beneficial, one that would be available to all?
11.) Is the decision for two-year-olds an opening to abolish the cut tails for all Saddlebreds?
12.) Would this not lead to the elimination of gingering as well?
13.) Would it not be wise to examine the breeding rules of today and perhaps find ways to stimulate the interest in breeding?
14.)  Is it not true that the rule of supply and demand determines the high prices of today's exceptional Saddlebreds?  Should we be more careful in how and what we breed?  Should we concentrate on quality instead of quantity?
15.)  Do we want limitations in the way we choose to shoe our horses?  Would opening the door on one ruling lead to another and another?
16.) Is it not true that the American Saddlebred is the HORSE OF KINGS?  Do we really want to change the breed that took generations to create?  Is it our responsibility to retain this breed as it was meant to be for future generations?

If you appreciate the beauty of the American Saddlebred, it's time to speak up now.  If you love the American Saddlebred, attend the ASHA Convention and let your voice be heard.  We are at a crossroad.  We are all on the side of the American Saddlebred, but we must proceed with caution. In our efforts to improve the industry let's make sure we are going in the right direction.


Facts from Who's Who and Where in Horsedom Vol. II by J.H. Ransom

1.)    In 1947 the American Saddle Horse Breeders National Futurity was shown at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis.  The total awards amounted to $14,079.31 (converted to today's dollar-$123,502.72).
2.)    In 1947 the Association was forced to give up its quarters in the Urban Building and moved to a residence two and a half blocks from the Brown Hotel on Fourth Street in Louisville, Kentucky.
3.)    In 1948 the American Saddle Horse Breeders' Association hired a professional film maker to produce a film on the American Saddlebred.  This film rented for $10.00 and sold for $225.  This film was purchased by universities and was used in their Animal Husbandry schools (today's dollar-$81.00 and $1829.00).
4.)    In the1930's total registrations varied from 500 to 800 horses per year.
5.)    In 1948 4,447 horses were registered.

In 1891 Col. B. Nalle, editor of Farmer's Home Journal, initiated The National Saddle Horse Breeders Association and a Saddle Horse Register was provided.  In 1899 the name of the organization was changed to American Saddle Horse Breeders Association.

Quotes from Susanne   Vol. I &Vol. III

“The wise breeder of today recognizes that the demand is for show and high class pleasure horses, not for work stock, and that if he wants to sell his horses he must mate wisely.”

“Through steadfast adherence to type came a family distinctive in gait, manner, conformation differing from all other horses, finer than any, more beautiful than any, more intelligent, more useful than all---The American Saddle Horse.”

“The American Saddle Horse is the idol of the show ring.”

Facts published in 1946 & 1947 Official Horse Show Blue Book

1.)    The 1946 Lexington Junior League Horse Show had Albert J. B. Beasley, Jay Burton, and Revel Lindsay English as judges for the Saddle Horses and Ponies. Winning the Grand Championship Stake was Edith Fable owned by Jean McLean, coming in second was Meadow Wisp owned by Dodge Stables.  The class paid $600 for first place and $300 for the second place ribbon. (converted to today's dollar would be $6000 and $3000).
2.)    Oakhill Chief won the $2500 Grand Championship Stake at the 1946 Kentucky State Fair Horse Show with Beau Gallant coming in second.  The judges were Homer Murray, Arthur Simmons, and J. Griffith (today's dollar-$25,000).
3.)    Evening Cloud was purchased at the Walnut Springs Farm dispersal in the fall of 1947 for the record price of $26,000.  At that time it was the highest price ever paid for a junior five-gaited horse (today's

Sandra McIntosh
Fortville, Indiana

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