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Showing Tennessee Walking Horses

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  • Showing Tennessee Walking Horses

    I followed a link from another thread over to Fugly Horse, and, there I followed a link to some video clips of Tennesee Walking Horse classes. I guess I better include the link:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuqN9n4RF4Y

    I have some serious, specific questions about the style:

    1. What is the tradition around the riders' black cape-looking outfit? What does it represent? Where does it come from? What is it?

    2. In the video clips, the horses seem tiny and the riders seem huge. The riders' legs hang way down below the horses' bellies. Are tiny/young horses chosen for shows, or are the riders huge, or what? Is it simply an optical illusion caused by the long stirrups?

    3. Why do the men ride hunched over like that? Their shoulders are rounded forward and their wrists are broken. I'm sure they're doing it on purpose, but why? What school of horsemanship would advocate that, and why?

    4. And why are the stirrups so long? Do the riders give the horses leg aids or are their legs still?

    5. Why is it always men riding/showing these horses? Typically, "horses" is a woman's sport. What is it about TWHs that appeals to men?

    6. You see a lot of white legs, white faces, and roaning in this breed. Where does that color come from? What color breeds are in TWHs' heritage?

    If anybody knows, I'm curious. I had a fabulous, barefoot, roan (with lots of white) Tennessee Walking Horse as a teenager; so I feel a connection to the breed and would like to know more.

    Cindy
    I have a Fjord! Life With Oden

  • #2
    I've grown up in TWH country and have known friends with walkers, so I have a tiny bit of experience.

    Originally posted by Nin View Post
    I followed a link from another thread over to Fugly Horse, and, there I followed a link to some video clips of Tennesee Walking Horse classes. I guess I better include the link:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuqN9n4RF4Y

    I have some serious, specific questions about the style:

    1. What is the tradition around the riders' black cape-looking outfit? What does it represent? Where does it come from? What is it?

    It's not a cape. Those are just jackets that are longer with tails.


    2. In the video clips, the horses seem tiny and the riders seem huge. The riders' legs hang way down below the horses' bellies. Are tiny/young horses chosen for shows, or are the riders huge, or what? Is it simply an optical illusion caused by the long stirrups?

    Some walkers are big and some are little. I've seen them range from hony size up to 18H. They really aren't chosen based on size. In the video you posted, the horse is only two, so I suppose after she's allowed to completely fill out, it won't look quite as bad. Also, the longer stirrups don't help matters.

    3. Why do the men ride hunched over like that? Their shoulders are rounded forward and their wrists are broken. I'm sure they're doing it on purpose, but why? What school of horsemanship would advocate that, and why?

    That's not what the equitation riders strive for. Look up some TWH equitation pictures and videos and you will see something completely different.
    I don't know the rider's mentality about riding hunched over like that, but I've always just compared it to hunter trainers who lean over the neck, duck, with legs slid back giving a ridiculous crest release. Trainers may do it, but their equitation riders don't.

    4. And why are the stirrups so long? Do the riders give the horses leg aids or are their legs still?

    I don't quite know about the stirrups being so long, but I do know that a lot of walkers are ridden with less leg and more hand than other types of horses.

    5. Why is it always men riding/showing these horses? Typically, "horses" is a woman's sport. What is it about TWHs that appeals to men?

    Woman and men both some walkers. In fact, women usually clean up in the equitation classes.
    And as far as "horses" being for woman, look at the lower levels of hunter/jumpers and looking at the upper levels. At the lower levels there is a disproportionate number of females, but in the pro levels you see the numbers even out more as you see more men.

    6. You see a lot of white legs, white faces, and roaning in this breed. Where does that color come from? What color breeds are in TWHs' heritage?

    Not sure, but they do allow pintos and such in the registry.

    If anybody knows, I'm curious. I had a fabulous, barefoot, roan (with lots of white) Tennessee Walking Horse as a teenager; so I feel a connection to the breed and would like to know more.

    Cindy
    I'm looking forward to a true expert answering some of these questions. I just wanted to throw in my little bits of knowledge I have.
    Medicine is the best medicine.

    Comment


    • #3
      I'll have to ask my aunt. She used to be a BNR in the TWH world. Some of my relatives still take part in it but by and large the family has moved to other things.
      Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Nin View Post
        I followed a link from another thread over to Fugly Horse, and, there I followed a link to some video clips of Tennesee Walking Horse classes. I guess I better include the link:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuqN9n4RF4Y

        I have some serious, specific questions about the style:

        1. What is the tradition around the riders' black cape-looking outfit? What does it represent? Where does it come from? What is it?
        Those are Saddle Seat suits (some are very poorly fitted and huge!)The style originated from a regular suit back in the early 1900's and the bottom part of the coat gradually became longer and longer until it has gotten to a ridiculous length. When I showed Saddle Seat over 20 years ago, the bottom of the coat was a couple inches longer than your fingertips with your arms hanging down. Now they are practically down to the knees. They look like dresses now. Men in dresses always look funny

        http://ehorseequipment.com/index.asp...OD&ProdID=2194

        2. In the video clips, the horses seem tiny and the riders seem huge. The riders' legs hang way down below the horses' bellies. Are tiny/young horses chosen for shows, or are the riders huge, or what? Is it simply an optical illusion caused by the long stirrups?
        That video is of a class of TWO year old horses. They are just babies.

        3. Why do the men ride hunched over like that? Their shoulders are rounded forward and their wrists are broken. I'm sure they're doing it on purpose, but why? What school of horsemanship would advocate that, and why?
        They ride hunched over because the front end is so built up with pads that if they sat back they would slide off the backend of the horse. I don't think horsemanship and Big Lick TWH go in the same sentence. It is all gross and disgusting.

        4. And why are the stirrups so long? Do the riders give the horses leg aids or are their legs still?
        Their stirrups are long because since it is a lateral gait, they do not have to post and only have to sit there. It also allows them to rotate very far foward hunched over to keep from sliding off the backend. As in most Saddle Seat styles of riding, legs are off the horses sides and leg aids are usually only used to ask for a canter. It is a lot of verbal commands.

        5. Why is it always men riding/showing these horses? Typically, "horses" is a woman's sport. What is it about TWHs that appeals to men?
        I don't think many women would do to a horse what needs to be done in order for it to look like that.

        Comment


        • #5
          lindac, wonderful answers.

          Originally posted by Nin View Post
          1. What is the tradition around the riders' black cape-looking outfit? What does it represent? Where does it come from? What is it?
          As lindac stated, these are Saddleseat suits. When properly tailored, I think they are lovely. But then again, I might be biased, that's what I show in.
          2. In the video clips, the horses seem tiny and the riders seem huge. The riders' legs hang way down below the horses' bellies. Are tiny/young horses chosen for shows, or are the riders huge, or what? Is it simply an optical illusion caused by the long stirrups?
          Yep, two year olds. IMHO, they are far too young to be compromised in this way.

          3. Why do the men ride hunched over like that? Their shoulders are rounded forward and their wrists are broken. I'm sure they're doing it on purpose, but why? What school of horsemanship would advocate that, and why?
          It's again as lindac stated, to try and balance themselves. The horses squat with their hind ends and the saddles are flat. To me, it seems counterproductive. They want break and reach in the front end, yet they are practically laying on the horses neck.

          I teach lessons on flatshod TWHs. We learn a balanced seat and equitation. For the life of me, I wish these guys would learn some equitation. They tend to make us all look bad. Once it's understood how the TWH moves differently from other breeds, adjusting your weight, pelvis and hands can make all the difference in the world. AND you don't need yucky things to bring out beautiful gaits.

          4. And why are the stirrups so long? Do the riders give the horses leg aids or are their legs still?
          Yes, saddleseat uses longer stirrups. The iron should set between ankle bone and sole of boot (with foot out of the stirrup)at the correct length. These men truly ride with their stirrups entirely too long. They are reaching for the irons with their toes. This makes them ride like a sac of flour. It only encourages the turtle neck hunched over look. Correctly adjusted, you can still have a beautiful leg and a balanced seat.
          5. Why is it always men riding/showing these horses? Typically, "horses" is a woman's sport. What is it about TWHs that appeals to men?
          I'm not going to delve to far here. All I can say is the top trainers in most any breed or disipline tend to be men.

          6. You see a lot of white legs, white faces, and roaning in this breed. Where does that color come from? What color breeds are in TWHs' heritage?
          What you're seeing is our beautiful sabino. A genetically true roan doesn't have the white legs and bald face. I wish I could tell you "where" it came from in our breed. The older type walkers had much of it. I have 3 here at my farm. I love sabinos.
          Good Judgement comes from Experience. Alot of that comes from Bad Judgement.

          Comment


          • #6
            [QUOTE]
            Originally posted by Nin View Post


            6. You see a lot of white legs, white faces, and roaning in this breed. Where does that color come from? What color breeds are in TWHs' heritage?
            well when the one of most famous pre war stallions was named "Roan Allen" one should expect such things

            best
            Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
            I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

            Comment


            • #7
              out of curiosity....not to pick any kind of fault. But how is one to tell when these horses are off. With the hunters, jumpers, and dressage horses you can tell by the head bob during a gait. With the TWH's they always 'bob' their heads. So I wonder how often a lame TWH is shown because one can't tell they are off?!

              Comment


              • #8
                The more one works with gaited horses, the more understanding there is of the gaits. For each gait, there are different footfall patterns, pick up and set down sequences, support phases and timing. Not all gaits have the head nod. Traditionally, TWH are known for their Running Walk (head nod) but they have the ability to do a whole range of gaits. When they nod their head it should be coming from the base of the neck. It is in timing with the gait. There is no "painful" look about it as you'd have with a lameness. Most of the gaits are an evenly timed four beat. When one is "off", that timing is off and they are not true to the gait.

                Are lame walking horses shown, I'm sure. But anyone who is familiar with the gaits could spot it in a heartbeat.
                Good Judgement comes from Experience. Alot of that comes from Bad Judgement.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  [QUOTE=HDFarm;3180578]
                  I teach lessons on flatshod TWHs. We learn a balanced seat and equitation. For the life of me, I wish these guys would learn some equitation. They tend to make us all look bad. Once it's understood how the TWH moves differently from other breeds, adjusting your weight, pelvis and hands can make all the difference in the world. AND you don't need yucky things to bring out beautiful gaits.
                  HD, can you point us to an online video that shows proper TWH equitation? Are there classes or shows for natural TWHs? What's the attitutude within the breed towards natural riding? Are you guys respected as a different flavor or are you looked down on for trying?

                  And thanks for the word "Sabino." I'd never heard that. I'd still like to know what breed influences are in this horse's genetic heritage, if anyone knows. I guess my dear horse was a Sabino. His color was kind of funny looking, but in a dear way. The white markings on his face gave him an adorable facial expression.

                  [QUOTE=Tamara in TN;3180818]
                  well when the one of most famous pre war stallions was named "Roan Allen" one should expect such things best
                  Ah, Tamara, Roan Allen was in my horse's pedigree! My horse was just a few generations from Allen F1. He was an absolute dream horse. A perfect horse for a child.

                  Thanks everyone who answered.

                  Cindy
                  I have a Fjord! Life With Oden

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by LiveLikeUrDyn04 View Post
                    out of curiosity....not to pick any kind of fault. But how is one to tell when these horses are off. With the hunters, jumpers, and dressage horses you can tell by the head bob during a gait. With the TWH's they always 'bob' their heads. So I wonder how often a lame TWH is shown because one can't tell they are off?!
                    Um, I'm going to assume that this is a legitimate question...the problem you noted is EXACTLY why the government can't seem to get a handle on the whole soring problem. It's easy to hide the soring, the fact that so, so many of these horses are in pain. Experienced gaited horse folks can see and feel when a horse is off (assuming, of course, they actually care; many TWH trainers couldn't care less--I had a "trainer" tell me once the problem with my horse was that he "wasn't sore enough"), but the general horse public can't. It's a whole 'nother universe that I wish more horse folks would become outraged over and work to put an end to.

                    As for the rest of the questions, they've been answered already, so I'll shut up.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Ok here's my pondering. You are saying that they sit hunched over because its the only way you can with the big pads. However, in the Walking seat equitation classes, many of the horses are padded, yet riders still sit up straight like you would expect in any other discipline.
                      I really think that we're looking at trainers here, and we all know that trainers in any discipline rarely have the best equitation that we strive for in a discipline.

                      Huzzah! Found some pictures from the celebration

                      http://www.jackgreene.com/2007/Celebration%206/12.html
                      Medicine is the best medicine.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        First of all the reason this class consists of mostly men is because it is an open class for trainers and there are only a handful of women trainers in the TWH industry. As far as the size of horses/riders yes these are two year olds but i know all of the men in this video and am in fact in it myself and most of them are quite tall. The "hunched over" effect is partially due to the elevation with which TWHs travel and somewhat a habit that many trainers have.

                        By the way lindac- every horse in this class passed a pre show inspection and was found not to be in violation of the Horse Protection Act. So i don't know what you think has "been done" to these horses. This is a natural gait for TWHs.
                        -Some people are like Slinkies ... not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you see one tumble down the stairs.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          [QUOTE=Nin;3181095][QUOTE=HDFarm;3180578]

                          HD, can you point us to an online video that shows proper TWH equitation? Are there classes or shows for natural TWHs? What's the attitutude within the breed towards natural riding? Are you guys respected as a different flavor or are you looked down on for trying?

                          nwha.com for naturally gaited horses, some of the affiliated shows and organizations.

                          Originally posted by Tamara in TN View Post

                          Ah, Tamara, Roan Allen was in my horse's pedigree! He was just a few generations from Allen F1. My horse was an absolute dream horse. A perfect horse for a child.

                          Thanks everyone who answered.

                          Cindy
                          Roan Allen used to show seven gaited ... wonderful horse. walkerswest.com has a huge amount of information concerning the history of the breed and photos of the foundation horses. Several links to choose from.

                          My show mare has a Pusher-bred momma and Society's Lee Allen as her daddy. She is the most beautiful bay sabino ... and so natually gaited.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Goodoldboy View Post
                            This is a natural gait for TWHs.
                            I'd laugh if this statement weren't so ridiculously, unbelievably sad.

                            I've spent way too many years with TWHs and fighting soring to have any patience with the industry apologists.

                            If you'd like to see real natural movement done by sound, happy TWHs, please visit www.nwha.com or www.fosh.info for pictures and videos.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Goodoldboy View Post
                              This is a natural gait for TWHs.
                              There is nothing natural about using pads and there is nothing natural about that overstride and front reach ...

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by scrtwh View Post
                                There is nothing natural about using pads and there is nothing natural about that overstride and front reach ...
                                When I see these horses move all I can think of is Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Those horses look like alien spiders.
                                Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  you cannpt compare flat shod walking horses to padded walking horses. just because you disagree with having pads doesn't mean what they are doing is not natural. Don't pretend that what fosh and nwha promote is natural. any horse that is saddled, bridled, and shod in any form or fasion is not "natural." im pretty sure wild horses dont run around shod with saddles and bridles on. So i don't buy the holier than thou outlook towards me because i show padded walking horses
                                  -Some people are like Slinkies ... not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you see one tumble down the stairs.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I love Walkin' Horses--as much as I love Standardbreds (they're kissin' cousins).

                                    I grew up learning to ride on a small Walkin' Horse mare (14.2 hands) that would only trot.... She was a roan (by Last Chance o/o Pearl Paschal) and had Roan Allen in her pedigree as well. She had a white spot on her side and I was told she was an overo--white "boots" in back and a white face--quite a character she was.... The older walking horses were roany but when Midnight Sun and Merry Go Boy came on the scene suddenly everyone wanted a black Walking Horse! There are a few palominos in the breed too! Last Chance looked to be white to me but it was a black and white picture so I couldn't be sure--anyone know what color he really was????
                                    Older TWH were also big and heavy boned with big heads, then they started trying to refine the horses and the gait has suffered, IMO. TWH are now more "upheaded" and when the head goes up they get pacey!

                                    I used to love the Saddle Seat outfits--they used to be quite flattering when they came down to the hips but now they are more like a dress and look stupid, IMO.... What a waste of good fabric!

                                    I think some of the horses are tiny! I've seen some two year olds under saddle and it makes me cringe--they're just babies....

                                    I think the hunched over riders think they are showing the horse to their best advantage but don't understand that their riding is actually detracting from the overall picture, IMO.... No school of horsemanship would advocate riding the way a lot of those guys ride! Sometimes I think it's just a macho "thing".... The boys see someone win who rides like that (being rewarded) so they just follow suit.... I guess horsemanship goes out the window when there's money involved and it's okay....

                                    Not sure why the stirrups are so long. You don't really need a seat though when you ride a Walking Horse as long as the horse doesn't act up--you just need good balance and the longer the stirrup the more contact you have with the horse....

                                    SteppinEasy--I know a gal who has owned Walking Horses for years. She bought a young stallion at the Celebration whose front legs were burned from so much soring!!!! She felt sorry for the guy! She has been showing her horses in the big shows for a long time and she said what they're doing is using that stuff that's used to ice pitchers shoulders on the field to cover up the soring that's done. It numbs the area and the horse doesn't show any pain.... Honestly, these folks are always one step ahead of the law!!!! The sad part is these horses are so good natured and generous--how you can do that to them just boggles the mind....
                                    "We want to raise our children so that they can take a sense of pleasure in both their own heritage and the diversity of others." ~Mr. (Fred) Rogers~

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Goodoldboy View Post
                                      just because you disagree with having pads doesn't mean what they are doing is not natural.
                                      Colour me confused (at best)
                                      I recognized with despair that I was about to be compelled to buy a horse ~
                                      Edith Somerville and "Martin Ross"

                                      "Momma" to Tiempo, Tucker and Puff, RIP my beautiful Norman 8/2012

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by scrtwh View Post
                                        There is nothing natural about using pads and there is nothing natural about that overstride and front reach ...
                                        ummmm no you are incorrect...overstride in baby Walker colts never touched by humans can be measured in feet....and breaking over level comes quite natural to many horse/pony breeds....

                                        best
                                        Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                                        I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

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