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Tennessee Walking Horse
Developed by the plantation owners of the American south to carry them on inspection
of their land, this horse was formerly known as the 'Turn Row' because it
was able to travel between the rows of crops without damaging them. The
foundation sire was called Black Allen, foaled in 1886, he was by a
Standardbred out of a Morgan mare and he had a preference for the peculiar
four beat gait that the breed is known for. It is a half walk, half run
gait that is extremely comfortable for the rider, the Tennessee Walking
Horse is supposed to be the most comfortable horse in the world.
Black Allen was taken to Tennessee in 1903 where he was crossed with the
Tennessee pacers of the time. Saddlebred blood was also introduced, in
particular, as one of the most important influences, was a stallion called
Giovanni who arrived from Kentucky in 1914 to stand at stud in Tennessee.
The introduction of Saddlebred blood has resulted in a more quality, refined
It stand at between 15 and 15.2h.h. and though it may be any solid colour it
is usually black, bay or chestnut.
The head is intelligent though rather plain; the neck is strong, long and
arched; the shoulders are well sloped; the chest is broad and the girth is
deep; the back is short and strong, in the show ring the rider sits behind
the normal riding position, on the weakest part of the horses back, to
accentuate the high front knee action; the body is deep and strong; the
hindquarters are well-muscled and powerful; the limbs are clean and strong;
the feet are strong in there natural state, though the front feet are often
grown artificially long to produce high knee action.
The Tennessee Walking Horse gaits are - the flat foot walk, the running walk
and the canter. The gait is inherited and though foals are seen using the
running walk with the ease of the older horses, artificial aids are used on
the front feet to encourage the gait.
The Tennessee Walking Horse is known for its kind temperament making it a
suitable ride for a novice. It traces back to the Narragansett Pacer, and
includes Arab, Morgan and thoroughbred blood. It makes a good all round
riding horse and is a popular show ring attraction.
The Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders Association was formed in 1935, in
Lewisburg, Tennessee and the Walking Horse was eventually recognised as a
breed in 1947.