Rack on! American Saddlebreds return to Washington


At the first Washington International in 1958 and throughout the early years, the elegant, high-stepping American Saddlebred ruled the ring. 

Back this year as part of the show’s 50th anniversary celebration, some of the finest American Saddlebreds in the country—all world champions—will take part in an exhibition showcasing the classic beauty and versatility of the breed ‘America made.’

Actor and fashion guru Carson Kressley, an accomplished horseman, will present the colors aboard CH A Magic Surprise, owned by Pat Johnson and trained by North Wind Stables.

The Saddlebred exhibition will take place on Friday evening, Oct. 24, and will include Five-Gaited, Three-Gaited, Fine Harness and Park Saddlebreds. 

Five-Gaited Saddlebreds 
Five-gaited Saddlebreds perform at the walk, trot and canter, and two additional “trained” gaits – the slow gait and rack. These gaits are so smooth that the rider barely moves in the saddle. The slow gait is a high-action gait, performed slowly, while the rack is a gait with speed and power. Once the announcer calls for “Let Um Rack,” it is the Saddlebred at its finest! The rack is a breathtaking spectacle. 

Three-Gaited Saddlebreds
The three-gaited horse exhibits beauty, brilliance, refinement and high action, performing the walk, trot and canter with collection and high animation. While the 5-gaited horse carries a flowing mane and tail, the 3-gaited horse has a trimmed mane and tail.

Saddlebred Fine Harness
The fine harness horse is shown to a four-wheeled vehicle at the walk and trot. With mane and tail flowing and a beautiful, fine, alert and airy gait, the Saddlebred is the epitome of a driving horse. 

Saddlebred Park Horse

The park horse shows with quality, style and presence, giving the impression of being agreeable in the show ring or on the trails in the “park.”  Easy, ground-covering action, with smooth and effortless transition in walk, trot and canter.

To learn more about this elegant and versatile breed, visit the American Saddlebred exhibit located on the concourse in booth #48. 

The American Saddlebreds presented at Washington are world champions in their divisions, some receiving titles as recently as the 2008 Kentucky State Fair World’s Grand Championship Horse Show, held in August 2008, in Louisville. These champions will be attending Washington:

Reserve World Grand Champion 5-Gaited – According to Lynn, mare, 6, owned and ridden by Mary Gaylord McClean of Golden Creek Farms, Shelbyville, KY, and trained by Rob and Sarah Byers of Premier Stables, Simpsonville, KY. 

World Champion Amateur Ladies 5-Gaited Mare – CH Have You Ever, mare, 10, owned and ridden by Barclay de Wet of Leatherwood Stud LLC, Paris, KY, and trained by Redd Crabtree and Scott Perrelli of Crabtree Farms, Simpsonville, KY.

World Champion CH Blackberry Delight, 15, owned by Sharon Sewell and Rachel Machamer, Acworth, GA, ridden by Rachel Machamer and trained by Linda and Andy Freseth, Hollow Haven Farm, Oconomowoc, WI. Blackberry Delight holds 17 world champion titles in seven different divisions and has won 107 out of 123 classes. He was formally retired at the Kentucky State Fair World’s Championship Horse Show in August 2008. This is his last public appearance.

World Grand Champion 3-Gaited – CH Our Charming Lady, Mare, 7, owned by Donna and Jack Finch, Geensboro, NC, and ridden and trained by Mary Marcum Orr of High Caliber Stable, Winston-Salem, NC.

World Grand Champion Fine Harness – Mother Mary, 6, owned by Anita and Richard Simpson, Monroe, NC, presented by Sandra Lilly, Mercer Springs Farm, Princeton, WV, and trained by Smith Lilly, Mercer Springs Farm, Princeton, WV.

Reserve World Champion Fine Harness Amateur Gentlemen – Kiri, 7, owned and  presented by Sheri Weschler, Greenwich, CT, and trained by John Champagne, Standardsville, VA.

World Champion Amateur Park – CH His Supreme Reflection, gelding, 6, owned by Kimberly Jones, Newport Beach, CA, ridden by Jacqueline Manzo, Bloomfield Township, MI, and trained by Tom and Leah Sworm, Tom Sworm Stables, Durand, MI.


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WIHS is an official USEF Heritage Competition, and holds the highest rating,  CSI5*-W, awarded by the Fédération Equestre Internationale, as well as a US Equestrian 6* Jumpers and  Premier Hunters. It is recognized by the US Hunter Jumper Association, Maryland Horse Show Association, and Virginia Horse Show Association. WIHS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization.