TWHBEA. Sited 4/18/07 from http://www.twhbea.com/
TWHBEA. Gaits. Sited 4/18/07 from http://www.twhbea.com/gaits.htm
Wikipedia. Tennessee Walker. Sited 4/18/2007 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tennessee_Walking_Horse
|horse, this breed is an ideal mount for riders of all ages and levels of experience. The breed easily adapts to
English or Western gear, and its calm, docile temperament combined with naturally smooth and easy gaits insure
the popularity of the Tennessee Walking Horse as the “world’s greatest show, trail, and pleasure horse””.
The Tennessee Walker originated from the Narragansett Pacer and the Canadian Pacer. In the early 1800s, these
two breeds were blended by Tennessee breeders who were looking for a horse that could handle the
mountainous terrain of the area. Confederate Pacer and Union Trotter blood was added during the Civil War,
creating the sturdy Southern Plantation Horse (aka the Tennessee Pacer). Breeders later added Thoroughbred,
Standardbred, Morgan, and American Saddlebred blood to refine and add stamina to their gaited horse.
"The Tennessee Walking Horse performs three distinct gaits: the flat foot walk, running walk, and canter. These
three are the gaits for which the Tennessee Walking Horse is famous, with the running walk being an inherited,
natural gait unique to this breed. Many Tennessee Walking Horses are able to perform the rack, stepping pace,
fox-trot, single-foot and other variations of the famous running walk these gaits are smooth, easy, trail riding
The Flat Walk is a brisk, long-reaching walk that can cover from four to eight miles an hour. This is a four
cornered gait with each of the horse's feet hitting the ground separately at regular intervals. The horse will glide
over the track left by the front foot with his hind foot: right rear over right front, left rear over left front. The
action of the back foot slipping over the front track is known as over stride. Overstride is unique to the walking
horse breed. A Tennessee Walking Horse will nod its head in rhythm with the cadence of its feet. This nodding
head motion, along with overstride, are two features that are unique to the Tennessee Walking Horse.
The Running Walk is the gait for which the walking horse is most noted. This extra-smooth, gliding gait is
basically the same as the flat walk with a noticeable difference in the rate of speed between the two gaits. The
breed can travel 10 to 20 miles per hour at this gait. As the speed is increased, the horse over-steps the front
track with the back by a distance of six to eighteen inches. The more "stride" the horse has, the better "walker" it
is considered to be. It is this motion that gives the rider a feeling of gliding through the air as if propelled by
some powerful but smooth-running machine. The running walk is a smooth, easy gait for both horse and rider.
The third gait is The Canter, which is a collected gallop. The canter is performed in much the same way as other
breeds, but the walking horse seems to have a more relaxed way of performing this gait. The canter is a forward
movement performed in a diagonal manner to the right or to the left. In the canter, the horse gives one the
abundance of ease with lots of spring and rhythm, with proper rise and fall to afford a thrill from sitting in the
saddle. Thus, the canter lifts the front end giving an easy rise and fall motion much like a rocking chair. This is
often referred to as the "rocking-chair" gait."
The Tennessee Walker has a reputation for having a very good disposition. It is a calm and easygoing breed,
typically easy to train. While the horses are famous for flashy movement, they are quite hardy, popular for trail
and pleasure riding as well as show.
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