Picture source:
Blue Moon Walking Horses

Tennessee Walking Horses – Introduction

Typical Tennessee Walking Horses are affectionate, gentle and intelligent animals. Walking Tennessee Horses are of composed blood. As the horse was crossed with many other breeds, it is a unique breed. There have been crosses of the Thoroughbred with the sturdy stock of the Saddle Horses, which the Virginians brought across the mountains in the early pioneer days.

The other breed’s blood in the Tennessee Walking Horse is the Canadian Pacer and the Narragansett Pacer; they are already extinct. One more blood that was mixed into the breed of the Tennessee Walking Horse is the Saddlebred. Thanks to these crosses the breed nowadays possesses endurance and upstanding qualities of the Thoroughbred, the substance and weight of the Standardbred, the smooth lines and docility of the Morgan, the style and quality of the American Saddle Horse.

Tennessee Walking Horses – Breed History

This unique breed was created in the Middle Basin of Tennessee about a hundred years ago. The breed is a product of crossing many other breeds that were brought by the early settlers to the Tennessee region. Those breeds were: Standardbreds, Morgans, Thoroughbreds, Canadian and Narrangansett Pacers. Thus having combined the best traits of these breeds, the horse that is known today as a Tennessee Walking Horse appeared.

The main feature the horse is known for is its running walk. This gait is an inherited one and cannot be taught. While moving it is swinging its ears. Bobbing of the head accompanies each step. Some of the horses are even known to snap their teeth at the time of walking. When traveling at speed, the horse can walk from 6 to 12 miles an hour.

Tennessee Walking Horses – The Use of the Horses

The Tennessee Walking Horses were bred mainly for the following purposes: riding, driving and easy farm work. The horses were favored greatly by country doctors that needed strong horses with comfortable gaits that could carry them for long distances. Also the southern farmers also used them for the same purposes to inspect their massive fields. The preachers that traveled from one church to the other preaching on their way preferred these fast horses also.

Picture source:
CJ’s Tennessee Walkers – Wyoming © 2003

Tennessee Walking Horses – Colors

The breed comes in a variety of colors including brown, black, bay, chestnut, roan, palomino, white or gray. The face, legs and body of the Tennessee Walking horse may also be marked with white.

Tennessee Walking Horses – Conformation

The Tennessee Walking Horses are generally well-boned, have deep chests and are short-coupled. They give an impression of balance with legs, neck, back and head in proportion to the size and shape of the body. The head is handsome and refined with bright eyes, prominent nostrils, and pointed well-shaped ears.

The neck is long and graceful, the back is short, the hindquarters are well-built, the shoulders are sloping, the legs are slender but strong and the feet are sound. The head should have an intelligent look, be well shaped, have alert eyes, a tapered muzzle and pointed ears that are clean looking and wide set. The hooves are in proportion to the size of the horse. Mature Tennessee Walking Horses may range in size from 14.2 to 16.2 hands high.