The Spotted Saddle Horse is one of the breeds of gaited horses that are popular for a wide number of uses and events. The Spotted Saddle Horse can be registered in several different registries within the United States, and events and shows hosted by each of the registries or associations will vary from area to area.
The various Spotted Saddle Horse registries include the Spotted Saddle Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association or SSHBEA, which was founded in 1985. This registry has developed protocols for registering horses, licensing judges and standardizing the types of events and competitions that feature the Spotted Saddle Horse. Another registry for the breed includes the American Spotted Saddle Horse Association which is dedicated to promoting the western riding with the Spotted Saddle Horse. This association is relatively new, only being established in 1999. In 1979 the National Spotted Saddle Horse Association was developed and there focus is on promoting and registering only naturally gaited Spotted Saddle Horses. Training the gaits through any type of artificial or mechanical means is not allowed in this registry or in any of the other Spotted Saddle Horse associations or groups.
In pleasure riding competitions the Spotted Saddle Horse must exhibit all of the natural gaits the breed is known for. These include the four beat gaits often known as the single foot, fox trot, stepping pace, flat walk, pace or rack, depending on the type of event. A faster canter gait is also required in most pleasure classes. The Spotted Saddle Horse may also be ridden in the gaited events where the high stepping action of the gaited breeds and the flash of the wonderful coat colors and variations make this horse a true eye catching entry.
Trail pleasure and trail competitions are also ideal events for the Spotted Saddle Horse. The smooth gait and the excellent disposition and temperament of this horse means that they are naturals at the sport and are also very comfortable for the rider. The horses are naturally very sure footed and are good over rough terrain as well as on level ground. The Spotted Saddle horse also has a lot of speed and agility and is popular in gymkhana events and even in barrel racing and other rodeo events. While not a true cow horse, the Spotted Saddle Horse can make an excellent livestock horse and is definitely an asset when having to spend long hours in the saddle.
Like the other gaited breeds the Spotted Saddle Horse makes an ideal driving or light harness horse. Their very active gait and showy appearance makes them perfect for either a single horse hitch or two or four horse teams. They are also popular in youth events as the calm; even temperament makes the breed a good choice for kids and teens to ride and show. The Spotted Saddle Horse also frequently seen in halter classes, also known as being shown in-hand.