The breed has been acknowledged in the United States of America since 1816.
The first American Saddlebred Horse was imported into South Africa by Claude Orpen in 1917; it was a black stallion, “Myer’s Kentucky Star”. He was to be followed by many excellent stallions who formed the basis of the breed in South Africa. Due to the fact that for the first years mainly stallions were imported, a scientific programme of upgrading the then available South African indigenous brood mares, were allowed.
The result is a breed as purebred as can be and truly adapted to the African environment. Today the South African bred Saddle Horse can compete on par with their American counterparts to such an extend that during 1995 a stallion, “Commander in Chief”, bred by Johan Lambrechts of Bloemfontein, was the first South African Saddle Horse to be exported to America, where his owner, Bill Schoeman of Philippolis, South Africa, now trains and shows him with great success. He has since been followed by more South African bred Saddle Horses being exported to America.
The Society was founded in 1949 with the first attempts being made as far back as 1935. The following Societies are affiliated to the Breeder’s Society and forms an integral part thereof:
The Breeders’ Society has some 420 members, with more than 4 000 horses on record. We register about 650 transfers and 500 foals annually. South Africa has taken the lead world wide in having parentage verification by means of DNA as a prerequisite to the registration of foals.
The Breeders’ Society also organises and presents the National Saddle Horse Championships, this is the second largest Championship of Saddle Horses in the world and some 800 horses compete in 94 classes over four days.