Tennessee Walking Horse Breed Description
|Height||15 to 16 hands high|
|Temperament||This is an exceptionally kind breed, with a gentle disposition and docile temperament.|
|Colour||Black and solid colours are the most popular, but there are no limitations as to colour or markings.|
|Head and Neck||The head is fairly large and quite plain. The neck is very strong and arched.|
|Limbs||The limbs are clean, hard, strong with good bone.|
|Body||The horse is close coupled and robust. The shoulders are sloping and the back is short. The hindquarters are muscular and strong, and the croup slopes. The tail may be artificially set to be carried high.|
|Action||The gaits of the horse include the flat walk, running walk, and rocking chair canter. The Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association describes them as follows:
Tennessee Walking Horse Breed History
The Tennessee Walking Horse came into being because plantation owners of the early settling days of the United States needed a type of horse that was useful for farm work, transportation and recreation. Plantation owners and overseers also used horses to tour their large estates and inspect the fields, so it was desirable to develop a horse that possessed a splendidly smooth ride, and the agility to wind through the rows of crops without injuring plants. The main foundation stock used to develop the Tennessee Walking Horse were the Narraganset Pacers and Canadian Pacers, which were popular, lateral-gaited horses. Thoroughbred, Morgan, Saddlebred and Standardbred horses were thrown into the mix.
The most influential sire in the creation of the breed was Black Allan (later known as Allan F-1), who was foaled in 1886. His sire was a Standardbred named Allendorf, and his dam was a Morgan mare named Maggie Marshall. Black Allan was a failure as a trotter because of his peculiar walking pace, which he passed onto the entire Tennessee Walking Horse breed. In 1914, the stallion Giovanni was to mix his American Saddlebred blood with the Walker, and his best contribution was to add refinement and quality to the breed.
The Tennessee Walking Horse is very versatile, and can be ridden English, Western and plantation style, and it can also be driven. Because of its quiet temperament, it is highly trainable, and suitable for beginning and experienced riders.
The best feature of the Tennessee Walking Horse is its unique and natural gaits, which are the flat walk, the running walk and the rocking chair canter. No other breed can perform these particular gaits, which the Tennessee Walking Horse is born with. Because of these easy gaits, and docile temperament, a rider can stay comfortably in the saddle for long stretches of time.