Meet the Tennessee Walking Horse:
Tennessee Walking Horses generally range from 14.3 to 17 HH and weigh 900 to 1200 pounds.
The Tennessee Walking Horse was developed to provide a smooth, safe ride for farmers travelling over rough terrain, and although they were originally bred to do all types of farm work, TWHs are now primarily a riding horse equally prized in the show ring or on trail, and ridden under English and Western tack.
Color and Markings:
Tennessee Walking Horses come in many different coat colors and patterns and rarely is a TWH turned away from the registry because of color. Backs, browns, bays and chestnuts are common as are buckskins, duns, roans, pintos and palominos. Some breeders will base their breeding programs on producing specific colors.
History and Origins:
The Tennessee Walking Horse, as its name suggests, originated in the state of Tennessee and has a combination of different breeds in its ancestry. Its pedigree includes the antiquated gaited or pacing New England breed called the Narragansett Horse that has been attributed as a founding breed of several modern gaited horse breeds. Another antiquated breed in its lineage is the Canadian Pacer, thought to be closely related to the modern Canadian Horse, that was well-known in New England and traces its pedigree to horses brought to Acadia and New France from Europe in the 17th century. The American Standardbred, Thoroughbred, Morgan, and American Saddlebred also contributed their bloodlines. It is of course, the official Tennessee State Horse.
The Tennessee Walking Horse's unique walking gait make it a favorite ride with beginners, older riders and riders with back problems. Competition at THW shows can be fierce, and horses are judged on conformation and gait in mounted classes like western pleasure, and plantation pleasure. The distinctive head-nod is regarded as imperative when the horse is preforming a running walk. This distinctive running walk can carry a rider between four and seven miles an hour. Their canter is described as being rocking horse smooth, and comfortable for the rider. Shown in hand, the TWH is made to stand 'parked out' with the weight on the forehand and the hind legs stretched out.
Tennessee Walking Horse Champions and Celebrities:
It's unfortunate that the story of such an interesting breed is somewhat marred by incidents of soring and that TWH shows are often the targets of animal activist and humane society attention. Soring is the application of a chemical agent or the physical injury of the horse's fetlock, pastern or hoof area to cause pain that will make the horse lift its feet higher during competition. Also under scrutiny are the "Big lick" or "padded shoes” and chains put around the fetlocks, called "action devices" used to make the horse step higher. Many TWH lovers are against these devices and other potentially harmful methods that continue to be used (although the practice of soring has been illegal since 1970). Many TWH lovers ride their horses either barefoot or with regular shoes and enjoy their elegant and unique gaits without forcing their horses to perform any unnatural movements.The Famous and Infamous
- Strolling Jim 1939 The First World Grand Champion TWH
- Soring Video
- Friends of Sound Horses explain soring