What is a Tennessee Walking Horse?

Tennessee Walking Horse

The Tennessee Walking Horse is best known for its unique four beated “running walk”. They are a gaited horse breed that was first developed in the southern United States. The Tennessee Walking Horse is an extremely popular show horse, however they are also commonly used for pleasure and trial riding in both English and Western disciplines. There are two basic types of Tennessee Walking Horse competitions, the “flat shod” and the “performance” horse. Flat shod horses wear normal horseshoes and perform with less movement. The performance horses wear built-up pads so that they perform with high action movement. But however you wish to ride your Walker, you will enjoy their steady nature and smooth gait. 


The Tennessee Walking Horse was developed from the Narragansett Pacer and the Canadian Pacer, which were crossed with Spanish mustangs. Originally bred as all-purpose farm and plantation horse, they were known for their smooth gait and sure-footedness. Other breeds that helped to influence the walker were Morgan, Standardbred, Thoroughbred, and American Saddlebred. In 1866 Black Allen was born, who became the foundation sire for the Tennessee Walking Horse. From Black Allen a foal named Roan Allen was born in 1904, this horse was able to perform several ambling gaits.

The Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ Association was established in 1935 and later renamed Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association in 1974. Since 1947 any walker registered had two registered walker parents, which remains the case today. Today the Tennessee Walking Horse is most commonly found in the southern and southeastern United States. They are best noted for their performance in saddle seat riding, but have become a largely popular trail riding horse as well. 


A Tennessee Walking Horse typically stands between 14.3 and 17 hands. They are refine and elegant, but are built sturdy. They typically have a long neck and a small defined head. Their shoulders and hips are long sloping. Their backs are typically short and strong and they can be in various colors including bay, black, chestnut, dun, champagne, cream, gray, along with various pinto colorings. They are usually very calm and good natured and they are best known for their smooth ambling gaits, particularly the “running walk”. The “running walk” is a four beat gait where the horse moves faster and oversteps. While performing this gait, the horse will bob its head along with the motion. Truly a very versatile breed, the walker is desired by both show and pleasure riders. 


So if you are looking for a smooth ride, you have found it the Tennessee Walking Horse. 


If you already own one of these amazing horses consider a gaited saddle to enhance your Premium Black Leather Gaited Endurance Saddlehorse’s natural movement.  See SaddleOnline.com Gaited Saddles for more information.