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Please Tell me about Tennessee Walkers

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  • Please Tell me about Tennessee Walkers

    As some of you know I have been looking for a horse for my student to buy. I have looked at may different ones, and have come across a TW.

    for a while she was thinking about leasing the NSH that she is currently riding, with possibly buying her. But she came across a 5 yo palomino TW. I haven't gone to look at her yet, but I just want some thoughts of the breed.

    I have never ridden one before. I understand that they don't trot? but Tolt, and they can canter. From the pictures she is a very lovely mare that is great to ride. She is lacking a few ground manners, but That is not a problem for me.

    What are their personalities like? Are they known for many lameness issues? (he wasn't shown as a saddle seat horse)

    Is there anything else I should know?

    Thanks!
    Last edited by Gray-horse-H/J's_elf; Nov. 29, 2010, 11:49 PM.

  • #2
    Ride him and find out how smooth and gaited he is. his breed is just a label. he might trot. Or pace. or amble...it's awful, I love them, but there's no knowing what he'll do unless you ride him.

    some have stifle issues b/c they can be rather loose behind.

    Angelic temperments, some are dead quiet some are hot hot hot but genuinely kind horses.

    Comment


    • #3
      Most TWH's do a walk, running walk and canter. Agreed with Katarine, if they aren't super gaited then they can walk, trot and canter and are usually still pretty smooth to ride.
      Some pace before they learn to canter, not sure why but it isn't very fun to ride at all! lol

      As for temperment, a lot of people use them for "everything" horses up here; trail riding, shows, parades etc. They aren't overly fast for gymkhana type stuff (in comparison to QH's and such) and IMHO they don't jump terribly well (legs going every which way lol). Some of the show lines can be pretty spooky and hot, but the best way to find out about that is to ride them as Katarine said.
      __________________________________________________ _
      Proud member of PETA: People Eating Tasty Animals!

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      • #4
        What specifically is your student hoping to do with the horse?

        Does she want to have a horse she can show? If so. . .what?

        Does she want a horse just for recreational riding and perhaps camping, or maybe something to do competitive trail riding with?

        Katarine is right about the breed just being a label - it's no guarantee that the horse will be smooth-gaited. I don't get into bloodlines or showing, so I can't say much on those topics except to advise caution about horses that are mostly from "performance" or padded show horse backgrounds.

        The breed is known for the flat walk, the running walk, and the canter (often described as a "rocking chair" canter).

        I've had my gelding for nine years (bought him when he was three); the thing that impressed me most about him when I first "met" him - other than his ruggedly-handsome appearance - was his temperament.

        He is very trusting and confident, even in some of the most bizarre and chaotic situations. As one friend of mine commented, "That horse will do anything for you!"

        My boyfriend, as well as most of my riding buddies also have TWHs. We ride and camp together throughout the year, and as with any breed, each individual horse is going to be a little different. Some have a hotter or more spirited temperament, some are very sensitive to their rider's nerves, others are very laid back and are great for calming a tense rider.

        The ones I know personally have all been very gentle and sweet "people horses." Not to say there aren't exceptions out there, but I think the breed is generally known to be good-natured.

        It's my understanding, from working with them and from talking to vets, that the breed also tends to be quite stoic. I've been on organized trail rides or camping trips where people more or less run their TWHs into the ground because, even though the horse is sore or exhausted, it will just keep going.

        If you've never ridden one before, the speed of the gait and the head-nod can take some getting used to. My boyfriend has one gelding with a very pronounced head-nod at a flat walk but it becomes less as you "move out."

        And. . that horse can really move out; even on a trail ride where the trail winds through trees and hills, that horse never misses a beat, there's not so much as a bump or a jostle in felt in the saddle, and you never realize how fast he's going until you look back and see the rest of the group far behind in the dust.
        Please copy and paste this to your signature if you know someone, or have been affected by someone who needs a smack upside the head. Lets raise awareness.

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        • #5
          By Jolly Badger: I've had my gelding for nine years (bought him when he was three); the thing that impressed me most about him when I first "met" him - other than his ruggedly-handsome appearance - was his temperament.

          He is very trusting and confident, even in some of the most bizarre and chaotic situations. As one friend of mine commented, "That horse will do anything for you!"

          This. A friend has a 5 year old that will go thru hell for her, if she says it is OK. Friendly, good natured, and smooth to ride. Because of this horse, I went and bought one of my own. A little mare that is also trusting, confident, and always good natured. I've only owned her a few months, but have yet to find anything she won't try to do, if I ask her. My mare is faster once we get rocking, so the speed of the running walk can vary.

          The only drawback of this breed I've found so far, it they are the most playful horses. Nothing is sacred, not the water trough, not the other horses blankets, etc. But I can live with that
          Facta non verba

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          • #6
            There is no breed standard for the Tennessee Walker. The primary breed association, the TWHBEA, has a number explanations and descriptions. There are judging standards by the various show governing associations that serve as breed standards. This means a very wide variety of horse types.

            In the main, Walkers tend to have a lateral gait, a mild temperment, and average conformation. You can apply Dr. Deb Bennett's conformation standards to Walkers without much alteration. IIRC she uses some Walkers as examples in her books.

            As a rule you can effectively ride a Walker as you effectively ride any other horse using classical techniques. Tack type and/or riding style is pretty much irrelevant. As long as the tack fits and the rider has average skills there won't be any issues.

            One are that can be an issue is gait. All of the "soft gaits" exist on a continuum.

            To visualize gait, draw a line on a piece of paper, maybe eight inches long. On the right end of the line make a mark and label it “trot.” On the left end make a mark and label it “pace.” In the center make a mark and label it “center gait.” Now we have a “template” where we can place the different ways of going of the different types of gaited horses. This will allow a comparison without getting lost in breed-specific terminology.

            A rider can influence where the horse will fall on this line by their husbandry, tack choice, tack positioning, riding position, hand use, leg use, seat use, etc. This means that riding the gait effectively takes some skills that the trotting rider does not have to develop. This is not to say that one type of rider is superior (or inferior) to another, only that there will be a different skill set in use.

            A Walker should fall in the dead center of the continuum. The Running Walk and Flat Walk are centered gaits. The reality is that most are to the left of center. From show lines they will be far to the left of center.

            For the person new to gaited horses I recommend the "bible" written by Lee Ziegler (RIP), http://www.amazon.com/Easy-Gaited-Ho.../dp/1580175627

            Also see:

            http://www.gaitedhorses.net/Articles...uitation.shtml

            G.
            Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

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            • #7
              Originally posted by JollyBadger View Post
              Katarine is right about the breed just being a label -


              In all aspects. You will find individuals within the breed that are vastly different from the stereotypes.

              This is probably my favorite breed. Great stamina and heart. Very verstatile although I do feel their conformation makes them less suited for certain disciplines so where she wants to go with the horse is probably very important (as always).

              Mine can trot, although I don't use that gait much. Much about the different gaits is all about training and conditioning.

              As advised above, question carefully how the horse was started and trained. I find a tendency within this breed especially, to start young and train hard too early.

              Comment


              • #8
                The gaits can be a whole package of who knows what- so like the others said, you'll have to try the horse to see what it does.

                But, they are incredibly game and forgiving horses with total hearts of gold.
                "Can't shake the devil's hand and say you're only kidding"

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have a grade walker who is tireless, sensible, intelligent, mannerly and brave. He goes barefoot and is an easy keeper. He came to me thin, abused, headshy, hard to catch and afraid of men. Three years later he will practically halter himself and makes up to everyone. He understood the importance of being caught within half an hour at my place and hasnt been hard to catch since. He can be caught and trimmed by the farrier without a halter or lead rope.

                  He is on the trotty side, but has a good flat walk and running walk and canter. I dont mind that he trots. In fact he will do a passage sometimes for the hell of it. He likes to jump trail obstacles and doesnt get in his own way when he does.

                  They have a reputation for saintly dispositions, and a good thing for their owners, too, if they are unfortunate enough to be Big Lick horses. I'm sure that a mean TWH has been foaled or more likely taught to be mean but I've never heard of one.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The only thing I will add is they tend to be mouthy which can run from just wanting to 'taste' or chew on everything (my gelding prefers cotton leads) to biting.

                    Agree that they are forgiving and have a strong work ethic. In fact my gelding is happiest when he has a job to do.
                    "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
                    Courtesy my cousin Tim

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                    • #11
                      We've had a couple around here. Like any breed, they have a wide range of temperments, but as a trend I would say they are rather laid back and non-reactive.

                      There is also a wide wide range of lateralness to their gaits. If the horse has very strong lateral gaits (as in a hair's breadth away from a pace) I'd stay away from it. Some have very nice canters, but those real lateral ones are a challenge to pull together.
                      ::Sometimes you have to burn a few bridges to keep the crazies from following you::

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                      • #12
                        My friend who has major back/pelvis issues bought one a few years ago. He was 3 at the time and I thought she was nuts to go for such a green bean given her health issues.

                        His temperament is STELLAR. Like, one of the best I've seen. He's literally unflappable, kind, forgiving, brave. Sensible yet engaging and funny. I rode him not long after she got him and he was so much fun. She's logged lots of miles on him since, ridden him all over the place and enjoyed him immensely. And he's a very easy keeper.

                        His canter is not so hot, but we suspect it would improve with proper training by someone who understands gaited breeds.

                        He's such a good boy I'd almost consider converting myself if I could clone him...
                        We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jeano View Post
                          They have a reputation for saintly dispositions, and a good thing for their owners, too, if they are unfortunate enough to be Big Lick horses. I'm sure that a mean TWH has been foaled or more likely taught to be mean but I've never heard of one.


                          My little black gelding reminds me of the character Dug the dog, from the Disney/Pixar movie "Up."

                          If he could talk, he'd basically tell you "I have just met you. . .but I love you."

                          He does tend to be quite a play-baby. . .his favorite game with other horses is grabby-face, which can be problematic if the other horse is wearing a halter because he WILL pull that halter off.

                          Not only that, but he will spend the next half hour running around with it in his mouth before dropping it in the most inconvenient spot he can find.

                          Buy him a Jolly Ball or some other toy, he won't touch it. No interest at all. But hang a halter within reach of him and it will be mangled by morning.

                          But he's just so darned cute. . .with those big, expressive eyes and pricked little ears. . .
                          Please copy and paste this to your signature if you know someone, or have been affected by someone who needs a smack upside the head. Lets raise awareness.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Around here, TWHs are the go-to breed for the trail-rider/pleasure owners. Comfy, generally quiet, and not too tall! The one at our barn doesn't trot--more of a pace and, if you can get it out of her, a decent canter.

                            She's also bossy and likes to pin her ears at any horse within a twenty-foot radius, but I think that's because she's a redheaded mare! Nice to people.
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                            • #15
                              You couldn't pry my Chippy (TWH) from me with anything. I knew nothing about gaited horses, NOTHING...so I went out and bought a performance bred TWH gelding.

                              OOPS.

                              He loves to hard pace, ugh, and step pace..he is getting better as I get better at actually flat walking honestly and even occasionally a running walk, and his 'normal walk' and canter will make you drool. In my mind he's just an amazing little horse. love love loves me some Chippy.

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