The Tennessee Walking Horse

The Tennessee Walking Horse

The Tennessee Walking Horse is one of North America’s most beloved breeds. Characterized by their graceful four-beat gait, these horses are famous for trail riding and show-ring competitions.

The breed was created by crossing Narragansett and Canadian Pacers with gaited Spanish Mustangs and American Standardbreds, Thoroughbreds, Morgans, and other species.

Origin

The Tennessee Walking Horse is a breed of light horse bred in Tennessee’s Middle Basin region to perform riding, driving, and light farm work. Its name derives from its characteristic gait: a running walk.

The breed was created through crossbreeding Canadian and Narragansett Pacers with Morgan, Standardbred, and Thoroughbred horses imported to the area during the 18th century. Additionally, this hybrid has been crossed with gaited Spanish Mustangs and American Saddlebred horses.

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They are renowned for their hardiness, strength, and endurance. These sturdy horses can live up to thirty years old and make excellent trail riding partners.

Furthermore, they are renowned for their gentle temperament and graceful gaits. They can be ridden in both English and Western disciplines, often shown off in halter or performance classes.

These horses come in various colors and patterns, with base coats such as bay, black, chestnut, palomino, dun, or buckskin being popular choices. Their coats may also be diluted with colors like champagne, silver, cremello, or gray for added effect.

These horses typically sport white patterns on their coats. Their manes and tails may also be trimmed to match their coat color.

Although bred initially for farming, this horse has since been mainly used as a show horse. They can be ridden both in the show ring and out on the trail.

The TWH breed of dog is an impressive creature, capable of living to 30 years old. Unfortunately, they are vulnerable to injuries and illnesses, which could cause early death.

Another danger to the TWH is abuse, such as soring. This practice involves using nails or harsh chemicals on the horse’s front to make them lift them higher while performing specific gaits like running walks or other unusual movements.

Thankfully, these horses are not wild animals and do not need to fear predators like mountain lions. But if you do happen to come across one, remember that their instinct is to get up off the ground as quickly as possible to flee potential danger.

Characteristics

The Tennessee Walking Horse is a gaited horse breed with an expressive, smooth four-beat running walk. Its docile temperament and comfortable gait make it popular for trail riding, pleasure riding, and competition. This American horse breed is one of the most beloved American breeds and the state breed of Tennessee.

In the 18th century, this breed was developed to walk on plantation trails in Southern America from a combination of Narragansett Pacers, Canadian Pacers, gaited Spanish Mustangs, Morgans, Standardbreds, and Thoroughbreds.

This gaited horse features a long neck and a solidly built body of 15 to 17 hands tall (157 to 62 inches). They usually come in solid colors but can also be found in diluted shades such as dun, champagne, cream, and silver dapple.

They are a sturdy, robust breed with an average life expectancy of 30 years. Generally shown under western tack in pleasure driving, good harness driving, and show classes, they boast an impressive lifespan.

Training Tennessee Walking Horses typically begins when they are weanlings or yearlings, usually as weanlings and yearlings. As young horses, these ponies are halter broken, lunged, and ridden to help them form a strong bond with humans.

These horses are straightforward to train due to their intelligence and willingness to learn. This makes them excellent companions and reliable even for inexperienced riders.

Tennessee Walking Horses are a popular breed for show, particularly in the halter and English saddle seat divisions. They typically wear one curb bit with a bit shank under 9.5 inches (24 cm) and can be shown using both Western and English tack.

This breed’s standout feature is its gait. It can perform various ambling gaits, including the running walk. However, owners can train their pups to slow down this pace for a smoother, more consistent stride.

It is essential to train the horse at a slow and gradual pace, so they become adept at walking without galloping. Doing this will enable them to develop an effortless and controlled ride.

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Breeding

The Tennessee Walking Horse is a light breed of horse developed in middle Tennessee during the eighteenth century for use on southern plantations. This hybrid was created by crossing Narragansett and Canadian Pacers with Standardbred, Thoroughbred, Morgan, and American Saddlebred horses.

Tennessee Walking Horses are renowned for their gentle temperament and comfortable gaits. They make excellent mounts for novice and older riders, providing quiet, comfortable adventures.

They stand 15 to 16.3 hands in height and weigh around 450 kg (1,00 pounds). They come in various colors such as black, chestnut, bay, brown, roan, gray or white.

These stunning animals have been officially recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a distinct breed and by the Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association of Tennessee.

Their distinctive four-beat gaits and graceful bearing make them one of the most beloved breeds in North America. These horses are easy to train and can be used for trail riding and competition at horse shows.

In 1950, the US Department of Agriculture officially recognized the Tennessee Walking Horse as a breed. They are proud North American Trail Ride Conference members and compete annually in numerous competitive trail rides across America.

Tennessee Walking Horses were a favorite of Confederate cavalry during the Civil War due to their strength and stamina. Additionally, they had an easy gait and remarkable resilience to shock.

Today, the Tennessee Walking Horse is one of the ten most widely recognized breeds in America and a beloved recreational mount. Additionally, they excel at dressage and jumping competitions.

Some breeders are dedicated to conserving the ancient, rare bloodlines of the Tennessee Walking Horse. This dedication led to the formation of the Tennessee Walking Horse Heritage Society in 2003. Their mission is to promote and safeguard these historic bloodlines so future generations may benefit from their distinctive qualities.

Training

The Tennessee Walking Horse is a breed of strongly built, sure-footed, and smoothly gaited equines native to America that have become popular pleasure riding and show horses.

The Tennessee Walking Horse’s gentle disposition and easy gaits have made it a beloved horse breed for children and adults. This breed can be used in pleasure rides, trail riding, and working tasks such as farm work or family transportation.

Tennessee Walkers typically exhibit four-beat running walks, low and extended; a good canter and counter canter; and an effortless gallop. Many Tennessee Walkers can also be taught to trot naturally so that they may be ridden at a walking pace.

They tend to be easy maintainers with few health issues when correctly cared for. However, some show horses may develop back pain and hoof issues when shown in padded or built-up shoes.

Training the Tennessee Walking Horse for various events requires patience and skill. Fortunately, its natural gaits can be taught to horses of any age, and most riders possess the necessary abilities to prepare their gaits adequately.

If you want to purchase a Tennessee Walking Horse to ride for pleasure or in the show ring, ensure it has been trained in all desired gaits. When riding such an animal, remember to relax and go with its movement rather than trying to control it.

Some trainers have an inaccurate perception of how best to train a gaited horse. They become so fixated on perfecting the “Big Lick,” an artificially high-stepping gait prized in show competitions, that they will break federal law and subject their horses to cruel practices such as soring.

But these tactics can be stopped. A group of lawmakers, judges, and prosecutors is dedicated to stamping out these evil practices in Tennessee’s walking horse industry. They refuse to allow cheating, cruelty, and deception to remain dominant there.

The Humane Society of the United States is advocating for the passage of the PAST Act, which would strengthen the Horse Protection Act and guarantee USDA inspectors adequate funding to visit all shows. If passed, this could make a huge difference in the prospects for Tennessee Walking Horses.

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