Tennessee Walking Horse

Tennessee Walking Horses
By Jackie O Photography [CC BY 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

History of the Tennessee Walking Horse

The Tennessee Walking Horse is an American original, developed in central Tennessee in the late 1800s.  The horse’s genealogy includes a mixture of breeds that settlers brought with them, such as Morgans, Narragansett Pacer and Canadian Horses.  One characteristic of this new breed was the horse’s smooth gait, which was later called the running walk.  This gait replaced the ordinary bouncy trot and made it easy for farmers, deliverymen and doctors to sit for hours in the saddle.  The Tennessee Walker is shown English and western, and they are prized mounts for leisure riding and trail.

Tennessee Walking Horse Characteristics

The Tennessee Walking Horse is a noble looking animal with a straight profile and an upright build.  In the running walk, each hoof hits the ground independently; the gait can be as fast as the canter. The smooth canter is often described as a “rocking chair” canter.  The horses are shown flat shod (Plantation Walker) or with weighted shoes (Performance Horse).  The Tennessee Walker stands from 15 to 16 hands high and can be found in the following colors: black, bay, chestnut, sorrel and white.

For more information:

The Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association, www.twhbea.com; Walking Horse Owners’ Association, www.walkinghorseowners.com
Friends of Sound Horses, www.fosh.info

Further Reading
Now That’s a Walking Horse!
Soring, show horses and the future of the Tennessee Walking Horse


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