By James Kemper Millard. Long associated with fine Thoroughbred horses, Kentucky's Bluegrass region is also home to America's oldest indigenous breed: the American Saddlebred horse. A composite of several breeds, the Saddlebred was developed by 18th century colonists who sought a goodlooking, sensible, adaptable, and comfortable animal to ride and drive. These traits made it the mainstay of the Confederate cavalry during the Civil War and the choice mount of many generals on both sides. As the Industrial Revolution replaced the need for working horse power, the Saddlebred evolved naturally into recreational activities. Affectionately known as the "peacock of the show ring," the Saddlebred's beauty, expression, and athleticism epitomize the essence of a show horse. In many ways, the breed's history parallels that of America and unfolds in pictures in Kentucky's Saddlebred Heritage.