The Tennessee walking horse, also known as the Tennessee walker, originally hailed from the Bluegrass region in Tennessee. He is a light breed of horse that stands around 62 or 157 cm and weighs up to 450 kg. He was primarily bred to be a smooth gaited farm horse.
The Tennessee walker is multitalented and highly adaptable. He has an even and laid-back temperament, which makes him a great match even for younger and new riders. The flawless gaits of the breed ensure smooth riding, making him an excellent riding horse for the elderly and people with back problems. Aside from farm work, the Tennessee walker is also very skilled at trail riding, pleasure riding, endurance riding, police patrol, ranch work, and performing in show rings.
The Tennessee walking horse has three distinct smooth gaits that are not rough on the rider’s body. This makes him a very comfortable horse to ride, especially for the elderly and people with back problems.
The Tennessee walking horse has an average lifespan of 30 years. Although he is a healthy breed, he is susceptible to a few health related issues. Thus, regular vet check-ups are highly important.
Where did the Tennessee walker originated from?
The Tennessee walking horse is also known as the walking horse, Tennessee walker, or plantation walking horse. His name is derived from the place he is native from, in the Bluegrass region in Tennessee, and his noticeably unique gait. The origins of this light horse breed started around the late nineteenth century.
The Tennessee walker was developed by farmers. They were aiming to create a new horse breed that is capable of working in the fields and a comfortable saddle horse. In order to make the Tennessee walking horse, the farmers selectively crossed American standardbred, Canadian pacer, Morgan, Narragansett pacer, and thoroughbred.
They were able to successfully create what they wanted. The Tennessee walker with smooth gaits and a natural running walk. In 1935, he became greatly popular in the United States, which prompted the establishment of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association (TWHBEA). The breed was well-loved in his native state that he became Tennessee’s official state horse in 2000.
What does a Tennessee walker look like?
The Tennessee walker possesses a bulky and heavy physique. It is common to see him have a sloping hip or shoulder. He has a long neck and his head is small and usually carried low. A full-grown walking horse can measure approximately 62 or 157 cm in height and can weigh around 450 kg.
The coat colours of the breed come in many variations. These include palomino, chestnut, white, dun, grey, bay, roan, and black. The walking horse also sports different coat patterns such as tobiano, sabino, overo, and tovero. Are you interested in getting a Tennessee walker? Check out our For Sale and Rehoming page to find the right one for you.
Are Tennessee walkers naturally gaited?
The Tennessee walker is known for his natural smooth gaits. They come in three variations: the walking horse canter, flat-foot walk, and running walk. The flat-foot walk is also known as single foot. It is a steady and gliding four-beat walk.
The running walk is similar to the slow gait but quicker. It is an inherited natural gait that can be only done by this horse breed. The walking horse canter is also called as ‘the rocking chair’ canter. To do this gait, the Tennessee walker raises his front end whilst his hindquarters remain slightly levelled.
How to care for a Tennessee walker?
Regular grooming is crucial to keep the Tennessee walking horse’s coat healthy and shiny. Make sure to brush his body thoroughly including his face, legs, saddle areas, and girth before and after heading out for a ride.
Use a detangler to brush and remove mats from the Tennessee walker’s tail. This will help in properly distributing oils that keep his coat and skin in great shape. When winter season starts, use a dry horse shampoo to clean his mane and tail.
When grooming, do not forget to check his hooves for injuries or infections. Take this time to clean them as well. Use a hoof pick to get rid of any dirt and debris stuck on his hooves after a ride.
The Tennessee walking horse is multitalented and highly adaptable. He has an even and laid-back temperament, which makes him a great match even for younger and new riders. The flawless gaits of the breed ensure smooth riding, making him an excellent riding horse for the elderly and people with back problems. Aside from farm work, he is also very skilled at trail riding, pleasure riding, endurance riding, police patrol, ranch work, and performing in show rings.
What should a Tennessee walker eat?
There should be a healthy balance in the Tennessee walker’s diet. It should be composed of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, and vitamins. Do not forget to provide him with fresh water too, to keep him well hydrated and prevent heat exhaustion.
Offering treats such as fresh apples, bananas, and carrots should be done in moderation. Too much treats can lead to the development of several health problems, including digestive upset, colic, and laminitis. Keep in mind to remove pits and seeds from fruits and vegetables before serving as they are choking hazards.
How long does a Tennessee walking horse live?
If properly cared for, the Tennessee walking horse can live up to 30 years. Ensuring that his daily needs are met is one of the best ways to prolong his life. It is important to be wary of the common health problems found in this breed too, as it can greatly affect his longevity. Below are the most prevalent health issues in the Tennessee walking horse:
- Hyperkalemic periodic paralysis
- Polysaccharide storage myopathy
- Malignant hyperthermia
Cost of Ownership
How much does a Tennessee walker cost?
Getting a Tennessee walking horse may cost from £2,000 to over £8,000. Total yearly expenses for his livery will cost around £1, 000 to over £7,000. You may incur around £250–520 for his food annually. Vet fees including vaccinations will cost about £70 a year.
Purchasing hay, straw, and shavings will cost about £120 to over £1,560 depending on the livery that you chose. Trimming and replacing your Tennessee walker’s hooves will cost you £225–£765 annually. Dentist fees can cost around £70 each year, whilst worming fees may range from £40 to £105. If you opt to get your horse insured, prepare to pay a monthly fee of around £20–£40. Find the perfect Tennessee walking horse for you here!
Tennessee Walker Breed Highlights
- One of the parent breeds that was used to create the Tennessee walker no longer exists. The Narragansett is now considered extinct.
- The Tennessee walking horse has become a part of the big screen. The horse playing Silver in the “Lone Ranger” movie was often mistaken as a Quarter horse. He is actually a Tennessee walker. Another horse that replaced the original Trigger was a walking horse named Allen’s God Zephyr or Trigger Jr.
- Due to the Tennessee walker’s smooth gait, he became a popular choice for numerous US Civil War generals.