Today’s Horse Facts: The Tennessee Walking Horse
If you buy a Tennessee Walking Horse, get ready for a thrilling ride as smooth as running water! That breed has always been my favorite to ride.
The Tennessee Walking Horse finds its roots in 1886 in Tennessee, when a Standardbred (a Morgan and Standardbred trotter cross) stallion named Black Allan refused to trot; instead, he chose to amble or walk fast. With effortless speed comparable to other horses’ trots, Black Allan’s new gait (each hoof hitting the ground at a different time) amazed the horse world. Owners of Thoroughbreds and saddle horses were quick to breed their mares to this delightful new rocking-horse stud, and the Tennessee Walker was on its way to becoming one of the most popular breeds in the world. In just a few short years, the Walker became the favorite mount of not only circuit riding preachers and plantation owners, but ladies riding side saddle as well.
Today the Walker, which comes in any black, brown, white color, or combination, is a versatile horse and is comfortable when ridden English or western. He is usually 15 to 17 hands tall and has a long neck and sloping shoulder. His head is large but refined, and he has small ears. Because he has a short back, his running walk, for which he is known, comes naturally.
If you go shopping for a Tennesee Walker, you will find a horse that is usually mild mannered yet raring to go. Although most Walkers are big and you might need a step stool to climb on one, you will be amazed at how smooth his walk and rocking-horse canter is. In fact, you might have trouble making yourself get off!
This photo is of my favorite horse of all times, Rex. He’s gone over 20 years, (He died of old age in my arms) and I still miss him terribly.