The Tennessee Walking Horse or simply the Tennessee Walker is an excellent breed of heavily saddled horse developed for use on plantations and farms. It was first developed in the late southern United States for use in its early stages as a walking horse. Modern day walkers in the state have largely inherited this skill and use it in their riding. However, the breed is more commonly seen today as a leisure horse that is regularly hired to take visitors around the countryside. A highly accomplished animal, the Walkers can be seen at regional fairs and parades.
Many of the modern day Tennessee walkers are crossbred with other breeds such as the American Quarter Horse, which is a descendant of the common American pony. The American Quarter Horse has a more slender body frame with a long neck and short head. Its head is usually round like that of the pony, but it can also be pointed. It is a fine-boned animal that has slightly overlapping saddle patches on its back. Its legs are short, while its feet are wide and flat. In addition, it possesses slightly rounded buttocks, while its mane ends in a high gloss.
The state of Tennessee now breeds many of these comfortable, English Riding horses as pleasure classes within the Western Horse Breed Association. The Western Horse Breeders Association is a nationwide club that is dedicated to improving the quality and raising the standard of these horses. Many individuals view the breed as a substitute for pony breeds. Because of their lower activity level, these horses are often used for pleasure riding. However, they are capable of being ridden for distances up to three miles.
The reason why the Western Horse Breeds Association has included the breed in its club is due to the fact that it performs well as a pleasure class horse. Furthermore, this breed is also considered by most to be a good contender for becoming a competition horse. A major part of the association’s goal is to promote responsible breeding and training of the animals. Therefore, they strictly enforce a number of standards that all horses must meet, including: Dressage, Tackling, Earthwork, Lead rope work, Hoof work, and jumping. All of the horses are required to participate in a minimum of one mile long test courses per year.
The purpose of the Dressage test is to evaluate and rate the suitability of a horse for showing in a particular show. This is an important factor in determining which horses will be entered into the competition ring. The Soring test rates the horse’s ability to move, turn around, and follow through. An individual who passes the test is given a score of one, and each subsequent test point decreases the horse’s score by one percent. Therefore, the ideal scores for these types of horses are about eleven hundred and fifty and one percent.
Lead rope work involves the use of two action devices, known as leadboards and lead drops. The two devices are attached to the horse and to its owner. When a horse charges or tries to move towards an obstacle, it pulls one of the action devices, causing the other action device, which is attached to the other side of the horse, to drop down. Each side must complete the same actions in order to complete the soring practices. Thus, a horse must first learn to push against and pull against the leadboard, then it must learn to pull against and push against the lead drop.
Some of the top riders in the world have been trainers at the American Association of Horse Shows. Favorite among them are Pat Prouse, Bill Nack, Ray Hunt, and Gary Fuller. For the serious rider, there are a number of horse tricks and displays that can take a horse from an all time performer in a certain discipline to a very good performer in another discipline. One of these disciplines is jumping. Jumping is a crucial aspect of the American Buffalo hunt show in Nashville, and this is the best place to find a quality jumping effort by a true blue buffalo.
No matter what your interests, you should be able to find a show with both the interest and skill in riding and the interest in dressage, among the finest of the breed. A true blue Tennessee walking horse will always entertain. A fine example is the Thoroughbred Company Bluegrass Charge, a stallion who won the 2008 Bluegrass Charge Championship at the Crufts Riding Complex in Nashville. He is scheduled to compete again in the 2010 FEI World Show jumping Championships.