C 'Em Walkin Ranch

 

 

Tobiano, Overo, Sabino & Solid

Tennessee Walking Horses

 

The Tennessee Walking Horse

Courtesy Walkinghorse.com

Photographs courtesy TWHBEA

The Beginning

For more than a hundred years prior to 1935 Tennesseans had been riding a horse which had easy gaits under the saddle. Tennesseans had always loved horses. The early pioneers who cam across the mountains from the Carolinas and from Virginia brought a hardy stock of horses with them. These horses were used for a three-fold purpose, that of riding, driving and for utility work on the farms as the land emerged from a wilderness.

The horses in Tennessee in the early days had Thoroughbred blood in their veins. There was also a strain of the Pacer, and some Morgan blood prevailed. By Andrew Jackson's time racing on the flat and quarter racing were well established.

Later the turn of the century these horses with good gaits were exhibited at County Fairs. Completion was healthy and each breeder tried to produce and developed a horse which would excel at easy gaits under the saddle. These horses were known to oldsters as "Saddle" horses. They were later called Plantation Horses, or Plantation Walking Horses. Today they are known as Tennessee Walking Horses.

The Walking Horse is of composite blood. Although the Walking horse of today is a distinct entity of its own. Which undoubtedly came about through a crossing of the Thoroughbred with the sturdy stock of the Saddle Horses which the Virginians brought across the mountains in the early pioneer days & through a mixture with the Canadian Pacer & even more the Narragansett Pacer. Although the Narragansett Pacer is extinct it pre-dates all American breeds & is the source of all pacing horses in America. To this was added the blood of the Morgan & the Saddlebred.

Looking back through various Foundation horses you would find many famous names of the past that make up today's Tennessee Walking Horse. Throughout a century & more of meticulous breeding the Walking horse has come to possess some of the endurance & upstanding qualities of the Thoroughbred, the substance & weight of the Standardbred, the smooth lines & docility of the Morgan, the style & quality of the American Saddle Horse. None in a large measure but all toned to a degree with its component parts that make for traits of its own to mark it as a distinct breed & talented breed.

In the spring of 1886 the future foundation sire of the breed was born in Kentucky. His name was Black Allan ATR# 7623.

A small black stallion that was bred to be a trotting racer, as he was sired by the royally bred Allendorf, his dam was a Morgan mare Maggie Marshall, who's pedigree contained many champion Morgan racers.

But Allan crashed everyone's expectations of him being the 'Great Trotter' he was bred to be.  He only wanted to pace & no amount of training would change him.

He eventually found his home in Tennessee, becoming the property of J.R. Brantley of Manchester, TN.

 

At the age of 23 Allan was purchased by Albert Dement of Wartrace, TN. Dements dream was to produce a breed of horse that would perform the running walk naturally. Allen bred approx. 111 mares the last year of his life. He passed away at the ripe old age of 24 on September, 16,1910.

It wasn't until April 27, 1935 that the Walking Horse Owner's joined together to form The Tennessee Walking Horse Breeder's Association of America. Following his death Allen was renamed Allan F-1 & was accepted as the Foundation Sire of the Tennessee Walking Horse breed.

Allan F-1 was truly a great sire of walking horse. He sired Roan Allen F-38 & Hunter's Allen F-10, whom many believed to have been great or if not greater, than the first Allan.

 

Before his death Allen was bred to Gertrude, a red roan with four white stockings & bald face. Her pedigree was filled with great foundation sires of the American Saddlebred, Morgan & Standardbred.

Together they produced Roan Allen F-38, foaled May 23, 1904.

Roan Allen was a real show horse who could perform not only the Flat Walk & Running Walk, but he could also perform the Fox Walk, Fox Trot, Slow Gait, Rack, & the Square Trot. He had a long over-reach & a nodding head.


Roan Allen sired many great walkers.
Merry Boy & Wilson's Allen which are two great stallions that virtually all Waking Horses trace back to:

Wilson's Allen sired such greats as:
Strolling Jim, Melody Maid, Hayne's Peacock, City Girl
Pride Of Memphis & the immortal Midnight Sun.

Merry Boy sired such greats as:
Old Glory, Wilson's Merry Boy, Black Angel & Merry Go Boy
He also had the distinction for siring great producing mares.

Another was his famous daughter Merry Legs F-4 was outstanding. She was by Nell Dement F-3 *100% American Saddlebred breeding. Of Merry Legs is was said that a nucleus was formed, and the Allen Kingdom of horses was further expanded. As evidence of the influence of the Allen strain.

Tennessee Walking Horse pedigree's also show the dominant force of the Hals.

Walking Horse of Today

Today this wonderful breed has become a pleasure mount that has become a popular mount for trail riding because of its comfortable gait. Also a winner in the show ring for its conformation, manners, & gaits.

The Walking Horse of today averages 15 ½ hands.

Colors ranging from:
Black, Chestnut, Bay, Brown, Roan, White, Grey, Sorrel, Champagne, Palomino, Perlino

There are also: Tobiano, Sabino, Tovero, Overo
 
With the mane & tails being long & full.

Their head markings - Star, Snip, Blaze, Bald, Strip

Legs often have socks or stockings, white is sometimes found on the body mostly in Roan & Sabino

The general conformation of the Walking Horse is intelligent & neat head. Well-shaped & pointed ears, bright eyes & a tapered muzzle.

They are short in the back, deep in the body & well ribbed, full in the flanks & of good proportion & width in the chest.

Their necks are of sufficient length and are graceful in proportion & is set on well muscled shoulders that are sloping. Hair is soft & silky. Bone is smooth, dense & hard. They are rugged and durable but are free of coarseness.

They are proverbially intelligent !!

The disposition of the Walking Horse is unique. It is, by its nature, a loyal & affectionate animal which is highly intelligent, even tempered & of a kindly disposition. Because of the gentle makeup of this breed, it is an ideal companion for both young & old. They are known as the "Gentleman of the Equines"

The Walking Horse has 3 Natural Gaits. All being free & easy.
The flat-foot walk, the running walk & the canter. All three of which are natural smooth gaits.

The Flat walk is the slowest of the three.
Being bold, even & comfortable carriage for the rider.
 
1949 - The Flat-foot Walk
It is not a casual walk but it is a somewhat spirited walk with a speed of from 4 to 5 miles an hour. It was described as a "square on four corners" and is executed with ease & grace

The Running walk is a faster movement & gives the rider a sensation of "gliding." Hence the term "The Walking Horse a ride with a glide"
 
1949 - The Running Walk in a sense, has made this horse a distinct breed. The speed varies from 6 to 8 miles per hour. This is an acceleration of the flat-foot walk & the gait he assumes naturally when urged out of the walk. The steps are lengthened, his head nods, all this in such a symmetry of action that the rider is spared the jar & jolts that so often go with horseback riding. Rather a gliding sensation & skimming along. This is not an exhausting gait & the horse can go along for some time at this gait.

In the execution of the running walk many horses overstep the front track 6 to 18 inches. This determines the "stride" and a long stride is conducive to greater speed & ease in the saddle.

The Canter is a rise & fall movement.
It is a refined gallop with spring & rhythm but without jar or jolt to the rider.

The canter is the rocking chair motion, which, of course, any horse can do, but all cannot do it with satisfaction to the rider. When done properly it is a slow rocking to & fro with relaxation for the horse & comfort to the rider.

The horse that properly does this rolling motion is known as the doing the " Rocking Chair Canter"