Tennessee Walking Horse Temperament and Characteristics

Tennessee Walking Horse with pinto pattern

The Tennessee Walking Horse is another tremendous horse breed with its distinguished features. Here’s a detailed overview of the horse breed for your consideration. Check the equine’s temperament and conformation.

What Is a Tennessee Walking Horse?

The Tennessee Walking Horse is also called the Tennessee Walker. The breed derived from the southern United States. It’s a popular horse breed famous for its four-beat sharp movement. The Tennessee Walking Horse is used in horse shows, trail riding, and farming. The breed has partaken in commercials and movies.

bay Tennessee Walking Horse

Tennessee Walking Horse History

The Tennessee Walking Horse is the result of crossbreeding the Canadian Pacer and Narragansett Pacer. These horses were brought to Tennessee in the 18th century. The equines were bred in Middle Tennessee and were called Tennessee Pacers.

Tennessee Horses were primarily bred to be used at farms and plantations. Since then, the range of uses has expanded. The Tennessee Walker is an all-purpose breed. It’s commonly used in trail riding, eventing, pulling, and driving. You can see the equine on a show ring performing its smooth gaits. The Tennessee Horse stands out with its flat walk and sure-footedness.

Soon after, new horse breeds were added to the Tennessee Walker bloodline. They include the Thoroughbred, Standardbred, American Saddlebred, and Morgan Horses.

The horse named Black Allan was born in 1886. The equine became the foundation sire of the Tennessee Walking Horses. There was another famous equine born in 1904 from Black Allan’s line. It was Roan Allen – best known in horse shows due to its ambling horse gaits. Later on, other gaited horses became popular on a show ring.

In 2000, the Tennessee Walking Horse was announced as the official horse of the state of Tennessee. The breed is one of the most common horse breeds in Kentucky. After the Thoroughbred and the American Quarter Horse. The equine is popular not only in the southern US but all over the states.

The Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association (TWHBEA) is the oldest organization devoted to the horse breed. It was founded in 1935 in Tennessee. The TWHBEA registers about 15,000 new foals per year.

pinto Tennessee Walking Horse through the fence

Tennessee Walking Horse Temperament

The Tennessee Walking horse breed is calm and docile. That’s an excellent horse breed for beginners. They are also used as a family companion. Tennessee Walking Horses crave to please their owner. They like getting enough attention from their horse owners.

Tennessee Walkers are great for riders of all levels. As the equines are patient enough to withstand an inexperienced horseman. No matter what your riding level is, don’t forget to wear safety equipment when mounting a horse. These are a riding helmet, gloves, and breeches.

Such horses are quite energetic and athletic. Once you build a strong relationship with your companion, you’ll have fun with your new friend.

Tennessee Walking Horse shaking its head

Tennessee Walking Horse Characteristics

The Tennessee Walker has a well-defined head with small eyes and a long neck. The ears are small and well-placed. The shoulders and hips are long and sloping. The horse’s back is short but strong. The hindquarters are well-muscled of a moderate thickness.

The Tennessee Walking Horse height is 14.3 to 17 hands tall on average. The horse’s weight goes from 900 to 1,200 pounds. That’s an average weight. Unlike draft horses that weigh up to 2,000 pounds.

Tennessee Walking Horse Colors

Tennessee Walkers can be found in all solid colors. A few pinto patterns are also possible to occur. The common Tennessee Walking Horse colors include bay, chestnut, and black. You can also find cream, dun, and champagne Tennessee Walking Horses. Sabino, tobiano, and overo are the Pinto pattern found on Tennessee Walkers. These are white patches all over the horse’s solid color coat.

Tennessee Walking Horse is running

Tennessee Walker Gaits

So, what is a Tennessee Walking Horse gait? The Tennessee Walker features a unique running walk. It’s a natural four-beat horse gait that is similar to the regular or flat walk. But the running walk is impressively faster. Gaited horses perform a flat walk at 4-8 miles per hour. While Tennessee Walkers perform the running walk at the speed of 10-20 miles per hour.

Here is how the running walk is performed. The horse’s rear foot oversteps the line where its front foot goes. It overgoes 6 to 18 inched forward. That’s a long overstep that is loved in the Tennessee Walking Horse breed. Another distinguishing feature is that the equine nods its head while running walk.

According to the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association, the horse performs the flat foot walk and canter, apart from the running walk.

The flat foot walk (flat shod) is a vivid and long-reaching walk. It covers from 4 to 8 miles per hour. It’s another four-beat gait. Each foot hits the ground separately at a regular pace. The legs are raised laterally while walking. The right rear goes over the right front limb. And the left rear goes over the left front limb. Such an action is called overstriding. That is unique to Tennessee Walking Horses. As well as head nodding when walking. Both of the features are judged in competitions.

The canter is a natural smooth gait that makes the horse extremely comfortable to ride. The canter is a forward motion that is performed diagonally. The right lead has the following order: left hind, right hind and left front feet together, then the right fore leg. The left lead is the following: right hind, left hind and right front feet together, then the left fore leg. When performing on a show ring, the equine goes from the outside to the inside of the ring.

Some owners tent to training their Tennessee Walkers to perform the stepping pace, rack, single-foot, and fox trot. Such horse gaits are allowed for pleasure riding. But you can’t perform them in the show ring.

With the high demand for Tennessee Walking Horses performing on a stage, the practice of soring has occurred. The horse’s front feet were nailed to the stacks to cause pain when hitting the ground. This led to horses lifting their front legs faster than they do it naturally. The soring horses are now prohibited for sale and show. The Horse Protection Act of 1970 protects the equines from abusive owners.

woman leading Tennessee Walking Horse

How Much Does a Tennessee Walking Horse Cost?

So, what’s the Tennessee Walking Horse price? A Tennessee Walker costs around $1,000 to $5,000. That’s an average price for a healthy and young representative of the breed. The price depends on the horse’s age, gender, color, level of training, and health conditions. The Tennessee Walking Horse may be considered as the first horse for a beginner rider.

Some Tennessee Walking Horses may cost up to $20,000 and more. If you’re looking for an equine with a good pedigree and outstanding look, get ready to break your budget.

Search for an experienced equine for a rookie equestrian. It has to be familiar with riders and know what to expect from them. The horse should be already ridden under the saddle. Tennessee Walking Horses stand out with a calm temperament, which is a plus.

Tennessee Walking Horse over the fence

The Bottom Line of Tennessee Walking Horses

Tennessee Walking Horses are a superb horse breed that is ideal for riders of all levels. Horse owners are into the breed as the equine is docile with a calm tempo. The horse loves to get much attention so you’ll have a good time with your equine for sure.

Such horses are quite versatile in use. They can be used for farm working and as a family pet. The Tennessee Walking Horse is a common member of showing and pleasure riding. The horse can be used in endurance riding as well. The Tennessee Walking Horse costs from $1,000 to $5,000. That is a reasonable price for a good-looking equine with a unique smooth gait.

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David Garcia

David Garcia

David Garcia is a vivid writer and a big fan of equestrian sports. He founded Horsezz – the blog where David shares his knowledge and experience about horses, tack, equestrian riding equipment, taking care of horses, and other useful guidelines.