The Tennessee Walking Horse was developed through selective breeding in the 1800’s as a versatile pleasure horse. Way back in his bloodlines, Thoroughbred, Standardbred, American Saddle Horse and Morgan breeding can be found. The very first horse to be registered as a Tennessee Walker was a black stallion called Black Allan, in 1886, now known as Allen F-1, the foundation sire. The Tennessee Walker was bred to be a horse that could work in the field during the week and carry his master to town in style and comfort on Saturday.
Why is the ride so smooth?
The Tennessee Walker is a gaited horse; it does not trot like most horses. The gait the Tennessee Walker is famous for is the “Running Walk”, essentially a half pace, half trot. The Running Walk can be as fast as a trot, but is an even, four beat gait. The horse has at least one foot on the ground at all times. This eliminates the “air time” of the trot or pace, in which there is a point when no feet are touching the ground. Thus there is no bouncing or jolting during the Running Walk. With a Tennessee Walker you can cover more ground per hour and you can ride for longer periods without getting sore. The Tennessee Walker can transition from the running walk directly into the canter, which is a slow, collected, rolling gait known as the “rocking chair canter”. Both of these gaits are a thrill to ride!
A horse of any color:
The Tennessee Walker does not have any color or size restrictions. They come in every imaginable colour, including a fascinating newly recognized colour gene called “Champagne”. They are known for their friendly, gentle and forgiving disposition and are very versatile.