The National Show Horse, founded in the 1980s, is a cross between an American Saddlebred and an Arabian. Or a combination between an American Saddlebred, Arabian, and National Show Horse blood. Both mares and stallions must be registered with their appropriate registries. Arabian and Saddlebred stallions, however, must be nominated and approved by the NSHR board of directors. Although any combination of these three breeds may be used, there must be at least 25% Arabian blood in the horse to be registered, up to 99% Arabian blood.
The horses combine the beauty of the Arabian with the flashiness of the Saddlebred. The resulting horse has the high-set, upright, long and swan-like neck of the Saddlebred. The neck should not have a pronounced crest. The head is usually refined and small, with small ears and either or straight or concave profile. The horses are close-coupled with a level topline and have a very deep, laid back shoulder. The tail carriage is very high. The National Show Horse has short cannons in front, and long, sloping pasterns.
The breed is usually used for saddleseat riding. They are flashy park horses, with high-stepping action and a very elevated front end. A versatile breed, they can also be used for jumping, endurance, dressage, or western riding. They are very friendly, willing to work, and energetic. Can be any color
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