The National Show Horse came about through the combination of the Arabian horse which has been referred to as "a living work of art" and the American Saddlebred which has become known as the "peacock of the show ring". This was the work of Gene LaCroix. Since it was born of these two favored breeds, it gained all it needed to become the ideal show horse; it has existed through the years without an official name or promotion. It was because of some horsemen and women of the early 1980s that this horse became known as the National Show Horse, because of its consistent show winning and its beauty, athletic ability, and heart that it deserved this name.
Since 1982, when the horse first came into the show ring known as the National Show Horse that it brought the first prize money system that gave breeders showing their horses a worthwhile gain. In the first National Championship Finals in 1984, the National Show Horse Registry dished out well over 100,000 dollars in prize money.
After the official introduction of the National Show Horse registry in 1982, it allowed an open registration; they wanted to collect a variety of horses in order to establish a solid gene pool for the breed. Times have changed since then though, today they have a set of rules and regulations that allow only a select few horses that can be used in the production of the Show Horse. Only three types of mares and stallions can take part in the breeding of these horses: the Arabian, the Saddlebred, and the National Show Horse; all of which must be registered with their rightful breed registries. The Arabian and Saddlebred stallions must be nominated and approved by the National Show Horse Registry (NSHR) board of directors. Any combination of the three approved horses may be allowed as long as the foal is ranging from 25% to 99% in Arabian blood count.
The uses for the National Show Horse as you can imagine are usually limited to the show ring, hence the name. Their most common use however is general saddle seat riding, but they are truly a multi-talented horse in the show ring; it excels in the events of dressage, show jumping, endurance, and western riding. It also does rather well in pleasure driving and fine harness. It is the rack that it really shows its colors, the rack is where the horse can run at a constant speed but at the same time can maintain a four step gait. Because the National Show Horse is such a smooth and steady rides that the rider is able to stay in the saddle rather than posting, as he would have to do on some horses.
The National Show Horse has many desirable traits that are preferred when it is bred. They include the motion of the horse, its hind legs have to show much power but with an even flow to the front, and the refinement of the bones. The breed also cannot lack in substance, particularly in areas such as the chest, shoulder, and hip. The tail must be high set and with a natural flow. When in motion, it must show brilliance and natural presence; when it is at rest, the horse must show high carriage, also when in show.