Breed History of Tennessee
Tennessee Walking Horse (TWH) started its journey in the late 19th century or the beginning of the 20th century. This breed is the successor of Morgan, American Thoroughbred stock, Saddlebred, and Standardbred.
Horse enthusiasts brought Canadian Pacer and Narragansett Pacer to Tennessee from Kentucky in early 1790. And the Tennessee Walking Horse is the offspring of these horses. Middle Tennessee’s limestone pastures were the breeding ground for the Walking Horse. Therefore, people started calling them “Tennessee Pacers”.
People originally would use Tennessee Walking Horses as all-purpose horses. They used to work on farms as well as plantations. Besides, these horses would also contribute to pulling, riding, and racing. These horses were favored for their sure-footedness as well as smooth gaits on the rugged terrain of Tennessee.
Time went by and the bloodlines of Thoroughbred, Standardbred, American Saddlebred, and Morgan started adding to the Tennessee Walking Horse breed. Black Allan, or Allan F-1, came into existence in 1886. It was the descendent of Allendorf (the stallion) and Maggie Marshall (a Morgan mere). Allendorf belonged to the Standardbred’s Hambletonian family.
The offspring of Standardbred and Morgan, Black Allan used as the Tennessee Walking Horse breed’s foundation ancestor. Breeders would use Black Allan for breeding instead of using it as a trotting horse.
Roan Allen, a young horse, came into existence in 1904 from the bloodline of Black Allan. It could carry out multiple ambling gaits. Besides, Roan Allen came out as a popular show horse. It contributed as the ancestor of many treasured Tennessee Walking Horses.
When it comes to gaited horses, Walking Horses come to the picture as a prominent one. These horses hold a great reputation for a faster running walk.
One of the unique traits of the Walking Horse is their smooth gaits. Besides, their in-built calm nature as a working breed made them a natural choice for traveling on horseback.
Nowadays, Tennessee Walking Horse got popularity for pleasure riding as well as trailing. Moreover, it is also a famous breed in the show ring. When it is about the competition, these horses are judged in terms of performance and flat-shod.
The TWHBEA, or Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ Association, started its journey in 1935. In order to manifest the focus on showing horses, the association’s name was changed to the present Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association or TWHBEA. Tennessee Walking Horse became the official state horse of Tennessee in 2000. The United States Department of Agriculture acknowledged this equine breed as a unique breed in 1950.
The southern as well as the southeastern US encountered the Walking Horse as the most common breed. However, you can locate the Tennessee Walking Horse all around the country.
The Walking Horse comes as the third-most-common equine breed in Kentucky whereas the Thoroughbred comes first and the American Quarter Horse being second.
Physical Characteristics of Tennessee
When it comes to horse riding, all types of riders prefer gaited horses. Especially horse enthusiasts, who have started riding in old ages or who are suffering from back problems, prefer gaited horses.
And when it comes to gaited horses, Tennessee Walking Horse comes to the picture. The smooth running walk capability of this breed resembles a single-foot gait.
The Walking Horse is often perceived as among the most famous equine breeds of North America. The Tennessee Walking Horse exhibits distinct gaits, amazing bearing, and quiet nature. Hence, it is an extremely appealing breed. Up to 2005, the yearly registrations of the new foals of Tennessee Walking Horse were 13,000 to 15,000.
The Walking Horse comes with a quite chiseled head along with large eyes and brief ears. They have a refined, stretched neck with a fine throat latch.
The Tennessee Walking Horse holds a stretched, sloping shoulder. A brief top line and ventral midline enable these horses to make long pacing overstep during gaiting.
The body of the Walking Horse is weighty with clean, extensive legs. Their hind legs are a little bit sickle-hocked or cow-hocked. Tennessee Walking Horses often come in 14.3 to 17 hands. And the weight ranges from 900 to 1200 pounds.
Nowadays, these horses exhibit an appealing head with brief ears. A considerable short back along with strong yet brief coupling is some other traits of this breed.
The walking horses are available in all colors and various patterns. If you want to adopt a Walking Horse, you can opt for one, as per your preferred color.
Gaited horses come extremely comfortable. However, their movement is different than those of non-gaited breeds.
The TWH comes in various coat colors as well as patterns. It is extremely rare that a Walking Horse has not been included in the registry due to color. Some common coat colors of the TWH include chestnuts, browns, blacks, palominos, duns, buckskins, bays, pintos, and roans. Some breeders also produce Tennessee Walking Horses in their preferred colors.
Tennessee Walking Horses are believed to suffer from health problems, such as Navicular disease and back pain. Moreover, hoof issues may cause whenever horses experience built-up or padded shoes.
The Tennessee Walking Horses, which are used for riding and bred in flat, standard shoes, often suffer from minimal ailments. That is why TWH calls for proper care and maintenance.
Note that the breeding of a horse can impact its health. Hence, wrong breeding processes can make a horse susceptible to health ailments. Therefore, it is critical to take advice from an experienced vet before purchasing a horse.
Tennessee Walking Horses often come as extremely trainable, quiet, and enthusiastic to please. Nonetheless, this equine breed is susceptible to a few ailments that are listed below:
Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy:
This ailment can destroy muscle tissues. Horses can start suffering from pain, stiffness, and so on.
Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis:
Tennessee Walkers can suffer from unbearable muscle twitching, paralysis, and muscle weakness.
It can make a TWH horse prone to a condition of abnormally high metabolic activity. It can cause a risen heart rate, a high temperature, fast breathing, and so on.
Temperament of Tennessee
Tennessee Walking Horses boast sensible temperament. TWH is an easy-to-keep equine breed. These horses can save the feed expenses of the breeders.
The TWH was bred to create a smooth yet secure ride for peasants roaming through bumpy terrains. This breed was developed with the expectations to perform all sorts of farm activities.
Today, these horses are mainly used as a riding horse. Besides, they are popular in the show ring, trailing, and horse riding under English as well as Western track.
Tennessee Walking Horses were developed for versatility and talented activities. The TWHs are still versatile. Horses of this breed can carry out innumerable activities, such as trailing rides, show ring performance, and endurance riders.
Moreover, TWHs are compatible with Western and English riding alike. Plentiful show horses are also suitable for saddle seat riding. It gets possible due to the great temperament of Tennessee Walking Horses.
Show and performance horses are often seen in built-up or padded shoes. It helps these horses to display their high-stepping activities.
TWHs are mostly favored for their distinct gaits. As a result, they became a comfortable breed for riding. Riders with back ailments or other physical limitations find Tennessee Walking Horses a great choice for riding. They exhibit a flat walk along with a considerable overstride. Their hind feet cover the paths ahead of the front feet.
One of the unique traits of Tennessee Walking Horses is their running walk gait. Their extra-smooth gait resembles the exact footfall pattern as that of a flat walk. However, TWHs are faster in running walk that they can cover 10 to 20 miles every hour.
Tennessee Walking Horses call for a proper combination of all six nutrients- carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and water.
These horses can live on rolled oats, fresh grass, and various other grains, including bran and barley. They can also tolerate treats, including apples and carrots in moderation.
Grooming and Upkeep
Regular grooming is important for Tennessee Walking Horses. Thus, you can keep up your Walking Horse’s clear skin and shiny coat.
Before embarking on a ride with a TWH, make sure to brush its face, legs, saddle, and girth portions. As a result, the horse will get more comfortable throughout the course. Moreover, appropriate brushing also helps a uniform oil distribution all around the body.
Post-riding grooming also helps to a proper distribution of sweat and oil on its body. It especially goes well in the summer. Opt for a detangler when it comes to brushing out your TWH’s tail. Therefore, its tail will get bushier.
Moreover, the TWH will get skilled at swatting away insects. Tennessee Walking Horses call for a waterless shampoo during the winter for cleaning, conditioning, and detangling their tail and mane.
You need to spend in the range of $1,000 to $4,000 to adopt a Tennessee Walking Horse. The cost depends on various factors, such as health, age, bloodline, or other noteworthy traits. The price structure for TWH adoption also depends on whether it has come from a breeder or rescue.
Do not forget to checkout red flags when it comes to selecting a horse for adoption. If a TWH is sourced from a rescue, ensure that the specified entity has the registration as nonprofit with a 501(c)(3) status.
Do not forget to make sure that your selected horse is legitimate as well as safe to adopt. When it comes to breeders, you can expect to get information about the breeding, bloodline, and health history of the horse. If you are not getting any information about the horse, the entity is not likely to be an appropriate one.
You must spend sufficient time with your selected TWH before purchasing. Thus, you can ensure whether the horse is healthy as claimed or not. Check out for trouble breathing, pain, lameness, or any other key symptoms of ailments.
Do you think the TWH is the ideal breed for your adoption?
Then, you must start riding some of the different horses of this breed lest you have not already experienced with a gaited horse.
Things to know about Tennessee
Height – 17 hands or 59 to 68 inches
Live weight – 900 to 1,200 pounds