History of the Tennessee Walking Horse

     The Tennesee Walking Horse is a light horse breed founded in middle Tennessee, the Tennessee Walking Horse is a composition of Narragansett and Canadian Pacer, Standardbred, Thoroughbred, Morgan, and American Saddlebred stock. Originally bred as a utility 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 gaits of the Tennessee Walking 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. 

 

  • 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 overstride. Overstride is unique to the walking horse breed. The hock should show only forward motion; vertical hock action is highly undesirable. 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. This distinctive head motion along with overstride are both things the judge should take into consideration when judging a 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. Proper form should never be sacrificed for excessive speed in a good running walk. 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. A true Tennessee Walking Horse will continue to nod while performing the running walk.

 

  • The third gait is The Canter. 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. On the right lead, the horse should start the gait in this order: left hind, right hind and left fore together, then right fore. The footfall for the left lead is right hind, left hind and right fore, then left fore. When performed in a ring, the animal should lead his canter with the foreleg to the inside of the ring. 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.

 

Conformation:
 

Tennessee Walking Horses generally range from 14.3 to 17 hands and weigh 900 to 1200 pounds. The modern Tennessee Walking Horse possesses a definitive head with small, well placed ears. The horse has a long sloping shoulder, a long sloping hip, a fairly short back and short, strong coupling. The bottom line is longer than the top line, allowing for a long stride.

Shoeing Rules and Regulations as it pertains to the Walking Horse show Naturally:

 

Plantation Shoe: (For Plantation Pleasure and Country Pleasure Racking Divisions only). The plantation shoe must not exceed 3 pounds, 8 ounces. The plantation shoe must not exceed 1 ½ inch in width nor ½ inch in thickness with no bare plate or other weight inside the shoe. The caulk must not exceed a one inch turnback and the shoe must not extend more than ¼ inch beyond the hoof at the toe. The heel of the shoe must not extend beyond the bulb of the horse’s heel when a perpendicular line is drawn from the bulb of the horse’s heel to the ground. 1. The use of borium is permitted on the caulks of pleasure shoes, but the thickness of the shoe and caulk with the borium must not exceed 1 1/8 inches. Welded on clips are not permitted on flat shod horses. Clips that are drawn from the shoe itself are permitted. No additional weight shall be allowed on or in the hoof, other than the shoe and nails.

 

Park Lite Shod Shoe: (For Park Lite Shod, Plantation Pleasure, and Pleasure Racking Divisions only.) The lite shoe must not exceed 1 inch in width or 1/2 inch in thickness with the exception of the caulk, which must be no thicker than3/4 inch. The turnback shall not exceed one inch, and the shoe must not extend more than 1/4 inch beyond the hoof at the toe. The shoe is not to extend beyond the bulb of the horse’s heel when a perpendicular line is drawn from the bulb of the horse’s heel to the ground.

1. The use of borium is permitted on the caulks of the Park Lite Shod shoes, but the thickness of the shoe and caulk with the borium must not exceed 1-1/8 inch. Welded on clips are not permitted on flat-shod horses. Clips that are drawn from the shoe itself are permitted. No additional weight shall be allowed on or in the hoof, other than the shoe and nails. a. The Lite Shod shoe must not exceed 1 lb. 8 ounces in weight.

 

 

Lite Shod Shoe: (For Lite Shod, Trail Pleasure, & All Day Pleasure) The Lite Shod shoe must not exceed ¾ inch in width or 3/8 inch in thickness with the exception of the caulk, which must be no thicker than3/4 inch. The turn back shall not exceed one inch, and the shoe must not extend more than 1/4 inch beyond the hoof at the toe. The shoe is not to extend beyond the bulb of the horse’s heel when a perpendicular line is drawn from the bulb of the horse’s heel to the ground.

1. The use of borium is permitted on the caulks of the Lite Shod shoes, but the thickness of the shoe and caulk with the borium must not exceed 7/8 inch. Welded on clips are not permitted on flat-shod horses. Clips that are drawn from the shoe itself are permitted. No additional weight shall be allowed on or in the hoof, other the shoe and nails.

 

Country Pleasure (Keg Shoe):

The keg shoe must be a factory-made non-draft breed, stamped shoe (poured or cast) hot- or cold-rolled steel or aluminum shoe. Only flat or heeled keg shoe options are allowed. Keg shoes manufactured with grabs or weighted toes are prohibited. Only clips drawn from the shoe itself are permitted. No additional material can be added or removed from the keg shoe. The keg shoe shall not extend past the toe. The shoe is not to extend beyond the bulb of the horse’s heel when a perpendicular line is drawn from the bulb of the horse’s heel to the ground. 1. Poured or cast clips are permitted if poured in the original cast (may not be welded on). Poured or cast heels (caulks) are permitted if poured in the original cast (may not be welded on). Keg shoes shall be allowed in all divisions.

 

Yearling Shoe: Shall not exceed 3/4 inch wide nor 3/8 inch thick. Weanlings may not be shod under any circumstances.

 

 

Heel/Toe Measurement: Toe length must exceed the height of the heel by one inch or more. The length of the toe, exclusive of the shoe, shall not exceed 5 inches measured from the coronet band, at the center of the front pastern along the front of the hoof wall to the ground, excluding the shoe. The heel shall be measured at a 90 degree angle from the coronet band, at the most lateral portion of the rear of the pastern, to the ground excluding the shoe and shoe caulks.

No shoe can be made from any material heavier than conventional carbon steel.

 

Acrylic Horse’s Hooves: Acrylic can be used to build a toe that has been broken on one foot only. Any appliances attached to a horse’s hoof other than a regulation shoe as allowed in the show ring are prohibited. The following equipment is also prohibited on show grounds: appliances attached to a horse’s hoof (including but not limited to hoof bands, pads, heel springs, therapeutic hoof plates, etc.), action devices on the pastern areas (such as chains, rollers, etc.), and plastic wrap used for the purpose of creating occlusive leg wraps.

 

HOOF BANDS are prohibited on horses on the show grounds.

 

Clear hoof polish only (black is prohibited)

 

Shoes only allowed on horse. Pads of any kind are prohibited, therapeutic or otherwise. No devices or enhancements of any kind added. No therapeutic shoes (heart bar, egg bar, natural balance etc.) The reasoning behind this being, while we understand the need for therapeutic shoes, given the TWH unique situation they can be used adversely (weight added, pressure added).