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Tennessee Walking Horse

Tennessee Walker

Family: Equidae Tennessee Walking Horse, Picture of a Tennessee WalkerEquus caballusPhoto Wiki-Commons
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The distorted and inhumane shoeing practices used on these horses should be illegal. Anyone who understands the basic natural hoof mechanics and body posture of a... (more)  Heidi Meyer

   The sturdy Tennessee Walking Horse with its distinctive gaits, can be ridden comfortably for hours!

The Tennessee Walking Horse is a breed which originated in the Southeast United States. Wealthy southern plantation owners had a need for tractable, comfortable, and hardy horses that could stand up to the rigors of hours of daily riding while out inspecting the operations of their enormous plantation properties. The Tennessee Walking Horse served this purpose.

The Tennessee Walker has distinctive gaits which make it easy to ride over long distances at a comfortable and efficient rate of speed. Today they are used for pleasure and trail riding. Pleasure bred, or flat shod walking horses make excellent family and children's trail horses. They are an excellent choice for riders with physical limitations because of their smooth way of going. Tennessee Walking Horses are also bred for the show arena for shows designed to exhibit the special talents of the gaited breed.

In 1935 the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders Association was formed with 'Black Allan' as the foundation sire of the breed. In 1947 the name changed to the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' and Exhibitors' Association, or TWHBEA. Since then, over 450,000 Tennessee Walking Horses have been registered in all 50 states.

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  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Perissodactyla
  • Family: Equidae
  • Genus: Equus
  • Species: caballus
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Horse Breeds


The Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse is a light horse breed, and one of the gaited horses. Light horse breeds generally weigh under 1,500 pounds. They are typically used as riding horses for leisure and trail riding. Being agile and swift, many are also used on the racetrack, in the show ring, and for work on the ranch.
Light horses are grouped in a couple of different ways, one being the continent or country where they originated from. They are also grouped according to training, classified as either a stock type, hunter type, saddle type, or 'other'. A body type is generally attributed to each class, with the 'other' classification being a bit of an odd ball. It includes those that are color breeds or those that may fit a body type of one of the training classes, but not be used for that type of training. The 'other' types can also include those that may fit into more than one of the type groups.
The Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse as one of the gaited horses, fits into the saddle type class.

Horse Backgrounds


The Tennessee Waking Horse began as a blend of Standardbred, Morgan, Thoroughbred and Saddlebred breeds. Each of these contributed a major asset to the new breed. The Walking Horse displays the Morgan's remarkable good nature, the Saddlebred's elegant confirmation, the speed and athleticism of the Thoroughbred, and the distinctive movement and substance of the Standardbred.
In 1886, "Black Allan", a descendant of the famous Standardbed, Hamboltonian, was born in Lexington, Kentucky. Showing little interest in harness racing, the horse was sold to owners in Tennessee. There, he went on to sire several foundation horses of the Tennessee Walking Horse breed; among them the stallions "Roan Allan" and "Hunter's Allan" and the mare "Merry Legs".

Description


The Walking Horse should have a long, straight and well shaped head set on a graceful sloping shoulder. It should be muscular and wide in girth with a longish underbelly and short back with a high set on tail. It stands between 15hh and 16.2hh and weighs between 900 and 1200 pounds. All solid colors are acceptable as well as roans and pintos.
The Walking Horse has distinctive gaits:

  • Slow Gait: The slow gait, also called the single foot, is a steady, gliding four beat walk.
  • Running Walk: The running walk is a faster version in which the hind legs aggressively overstep the front tracks and is accompanied by an expressive nodding of the horses head.
  • Walking Horse Canter: In the Walking Horse Canter, also referred to as a "rocking chair" canter, the horse elevates his front end while the hindquarters remain relatively level.

Walking horses bred for the show ring have gaits that show more exaggerated, defined action. The front shoes are often weighted and the feet are built up with padding and encouraged to grow extremely long.

Horse Care and Feeding


Tennessee Walkers tend to be easy keepers and generally do well on fresh grass hay. One to three pounds of 10 to 12 % protein grain supplement is sufficient for most pleasure horses. A dietary hoof supplement containing biotin is also recommended
The Walking horse is a moderate size and has a very good natured temperament making it an excellent candidate for a box stall, as well as a paddock or pasture environment. They are social horses and do best with the company of other livestock.

Horse Training and Activities


The Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse is supremely adapted to be a trail horse. Good for pleasure riding, endurance and trail, this is an excellent family horse for kids and adults alike. It is a good choice for new riders and riders with physical limitations as the gaits are smooth and easy to ride.

Common Health Problems


Problems with the feet are the most common complaint because of the extraordinary demands put on these horses in the show arena. Laminitis and Navicular disease are of particular concern. Also, sore back problems may occur resulting from the sometimes disjointed movement of the horse. A well fitted saddle and a horse proportionate to the rider's size is of extreme importance.

Availability


The Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse is fairly available throughout the country. In 1947 the studbook was closed to all outside breeding, and all Tennessee Walking Horses were required to have both parents registered to be eligible for registration themselves. Some inbreeding is inevitable, and buyers should investigate a horse's pedigree to avoid any associated health issues.

References


Personal knowledge
Judith Dutson, Storey's Illustrated Guide to 96 Horse Breeds of North America, Storey Publishing, LLC, 2005
Elwyn Hartley Edwards and Candida Geddes, The Complete Horse Book, Trafalgar Square Publishing, 1991
Donald Braider, The Life, History and Magic of the Horse, New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1977 Author: Joan Childs

Lastest Animal Stories on Tennessee Walking Horse


Heidi Meyer - 2012-01-27
The distorted and inhumane shoeing practices used on these horses should be illegal. Anyone who understands the basic natural hoof mechanics and body posture of a horse can see they are in tremendous pain, just standing still! There is a reason why navicular issues and hoof problems are rampant with these breeds, because they are incorrectly trimmed and inhumanely shod to distort and produce an exaggerated gait that is NOT NATURAL! Please do your research....they move beautifully on bare feet with no weights and CAN go for hours that way.....but you will only break down their body by continuing this insidious shoeing practice.

  • Colleen Gratton - 2013-05-07
    My disbelief is general public think this is okay... I agree... 100% you can obviously see the horses are in pain.
  • Clarice Brough - 2013-05-07
    So... it sounds like what you're saying is they need to be correctly shod, and if they are demonstrating pain, it has been done incorrectly. Which makes sense and a professional should probably be referred to, especially for this breed.
  • Nic - 2014-06-20
    People need to do there research before commenting!!!! If the breed is so bad Why is there 20 year old Walking-horses still showing and winning World grand championships and by the way a 6 year old was riding one of them, I don't see a 20 year old quarter horse still competing or In fact I don't see any breed of horse that lives that long and still showing. I show walking horses and they are treated better than most humans!!!! If the people in the walking horse industry did not care about there horses then why would people spend 500-700 dollars a month for training and that is not including shoeing and showing them, shoes cost about 125-200 and one show cost 60-125 and that is every weekend!!!!! Shavings up to their ankles all-you-can-eat hay worked and bathed everyday or every other day. Ya we sure do treat our horses horrible!!! P.s I had a 'Big Lick' horse and brought her home for the winner pulled the pads off and trail rode her that day for 2 hours and she did not even break a sweat or act like she was hurt in anyway!!! She is now happy and health with her first baby due any day now!!!
  • Sierra - 2014-08-29
    This was banned about 20 years ago. The padding used today is humane and only weights down a horse's front. This encourages them to use more power from behind, and the horse lifts his legs high. What you're refering to is soring, an abusive practice where a chemical is placed on the horse's fetlock along with a chain or boot that would rub against the chemical when the hoof touched the ground and cause severe pain. This practice is and has been illegal for years. The chains and boots you see today are only to put weight on the hoof, and causes NO PAIN.
  • Clarice Brough - 2014-09-01
    Really appreciate learning about how they are trained, and that those inhumane practices are totally BANNED! YES:)
Reply
MS. H. Ollava - 2012-01-26
Are these the horses that walk with their hind quarters down? PLS reply.

  • Charlie Roche - 2012-01-27
    They have a unique walk to them and are very comfortable to ride. Narrower an the walk and smooth. Not exactly sure what you mean by hind quarters own? Tucked?
  • Charlie Roche - 2012-01-27
    I did some research on hindquarters on a walk in a horse and any of the material I found said that some horses can be 'trained' to walk with the hindquarters lower or tucked but it is a training. It is not a natural thing and in fact will disrupt the natural gait of the horse. It is used fo show, tricks and is not a natural gait for a horse and if the horse appears to naturally walk like this, there is probably something wrong. On this note, vets went into breathing in the abdomen and the side to side gait and why it is there etc and it was over my head on the terms. Regardless, anything I could find said not natural for hindquarters to be own.
  • Brooke - 2014-05-18
    Yes, that form of walking is referred to as 'the big lick'. It has a lot of controversy on wether or not it is harmful to the walking horse. Some of the trainers do a thing called soaring to promote the gait, but it is highly illegal and looked for at all of the shows. The stacked and weighted shoes are commonly used, but can cause long term hoof and leg problems. Tennessee walking horses can do much more then the big lick, that is just one thing they commonly are trained to do. I own one myself and he just rides pleasure and never big lick trained.
Reply
Sydney - 2013-11-29
My horse Ace is part Tennessee Walker and part quarter horse and he does NOT like canter at all. So just give him a couple people.

Reply
jezlyn - 2011-03-23
Amazing I love Tennessee walking horses.

  • Charlie Roche - 2012-02-28
    They are gorgeous.
Reply