Lawrence Goldfarb (Larry Goldfarb) Explains the Tennessee Walker horse.
Tennessee Walker horse, also called Plantation Walking Horse, breed of horse that derives its name from the state of Tennessee and from its distinctive gait—the running walk. In a broad sense, it originated from all the ancestors that could do a running walk. Allan F-I (foaled 1886), a Standardbred stallion with several crosses of Morgan breeding, had the greatest influence on the breed. The walking horse is heavier and stouter than, and lacks the refinement and style of, the American saddle horse. The head is usually carried low. Some are more sloping in the croup and more curved in the hocks than other riding horses. Tennessee Walker horses average 15.2 hands (157 cm, or 62 inches) in height and weigh about 450 kg (1,000 pounds). The colours are black, chestnut, bay, brown, roan, gray, yellow, and pure white.
The Tennessee Walker running walk is a natural gait that may be improved but not acquired by a horse without the natural ability. The gait is faster than a flat-footed walk, with a speed of 10 to 13 km (6 to 8 miles) per hour. The front foot strikes the ground an instant before the diagonal hind foot. The horse has a low, gliding, reaching action, the hind foot overstepping the print of the forefoot by several inches. Official recognition as a distinct breed dates from 1935.
Thinking about buying a Tennessee Walker Horse for trail riding? Plain-shod Tennessee Walker Horses are sound, sane, and naturally smooth-gaited. This is the ultimate trail horse-both a comfortable mount and a willing, loving companion. But there are several key things you should know about the Tennessee Walking Horse before you seal the deal.
The walks are all four-beat lateral gaits: The horse always has three feet on the ground and one in the air, so his body is always well-supported. (At a trot, the horse has two feet in the air and two on the ground; at a rack, he has three feet in the air and one on the ground, which is less stable and much more tiring for the horse.)