On this Veterans Day, we celebrate the commitment of the courageous service men and women of this nation’s military, but also the military heritage of our breed. Historically referred to as the “Horse America Made,” the American Saddlebred has a long and proud history that can trace its roots to the birth of our nation and its forefathers in the United States military.
The breed started as the “Kentucky Saddler” and earned them acclaim as a breed by their tremendous service in the military. During the Civil War, Kentucky Saddlers proved their superiority on the battlefield. Most high ranking officials on both sides rode Saddlers: Lee had his Traveller, Grant was on Cincinnati, Sherman rode Lexington and Stonewall Jackson was on Little Sorrell. Generals John Hunt Morgan and Nathan Bedford Forrest rode Kentucky Saddlers exclusively. In peacetime, the high demand for Saddle Horses enabled the industry to recover quickly. As the war ended, horse owners began to enter their saddle horses into the show ring where they became stars because of their beauty, style, and utility.
As their days as a Calvary horse are long over the American Saddlebred and the community that loves them have found a way to continue to be an alley to the service men and women and their families. From a desire to celebrate the breed, our National Championships and Veterans Day the “Veteran” Horse Class was born! Laufer of Overland Park, Kansas has been instrumental in the creation and promotion of this class. Laufer shared that because the UPHA American Royal always falls on or around Veterans Day, the American Royal horse show committee wanted a way to honor our country’s service men and women during the week of the show. The 2018 UPHA National Championship was held in Kansas City, Missouri November 5-10th. The Veteran Horse class is only for American Saddlebreds 11 years or older. The age requirement was created to coincide with Veteran’s Day, November 11th.
For each class offered, a donation is made to Folds of Honor. Folds of Honor is a foundation committed to providing educational scholarships to children and spouses of severely wounded or deceased servicemen and women. Folds of Honor’s mission is to “honor the sacrifice of America’s heroes while giving hope to the bearers of their legacy.” Every donation made to Folds of Honor goes to help equip and educate the loved ones of those that made the ultimate sacrifice for the United States of America.
The Veteran Horse series began this year with its first qualifying class at the 2018 Bridlespur Horse Show in St. Louis in April, followed in May by a class at the Chapter V Horse Show in Kansas City and also at the St. Louis Charity Horse Show in September. The 2018 series concluded with the National Veteran Horse Championship on Wednesday night, November 7, 2018, in Kansas City, Missouri. This class enabled a $1500 donation to be made to Folds of Honor, as well, the winner of the class will receive a custom trophy, presented by a Gold Star spouse, Kelli Campbell. Pictured here are the winners and Folds of Honor presenters for two of the series champions The Toy Soldier (118281G) from the St. Louis Charity Horse Show and Jett Rink (119266G) from the UPHA American Royal.
The American Saddlebred Horse Association (ASHA) is thankful to Military Veterans today and every day for their dedication and sacrifices. We are proud of the connection of the American Saddlebred horse to service men and women of the United States of past, present, and future.
If you’d like to donate to Folds Of Honor please click here.
If you’d like to learn more about the history of the American Saddlebred please visit our breed history page.