Tennessee Walking Horse

Last Updated: March 23, 2021

The Tennessee Walking Horse gets its name from its unique gate, which resembles a running walk. It’s heavier and more muscular than the American Saddle Horse, and it likes to keep its head low. Owners primarily keep it for riding, where its unique gate keeps a perfect pace for riding along the fence to check for damage. Keep reading while we discover more interesting facts about this breed to see if the Tennessee Walking horse is right for you.

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Quick Facts about Tennesee Walking Horses

Species Name: E. Ferus
Family: Equidae
Care Level: Moderate
Climate: All climates
Temperament: Docile, intelligent, willing to please
Color Form: Buckskin, black, chestnut, white, grey, palomino, brown, grullo
Lifespan: 30 years
Size: 14 – 17 hands
Diet: Herbivore
Minimum Pen Size: 50 – 60 feet

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Tennessee Walking Horse Overview

Three_Tennessee_Walking_Horses
Image Credit: Jackie O Photography, Wikimedia Commons

The Tennessee Walking Horse is an easy-going horse with a long lifespan. You can easily find them in a show ring where they excel at fence jumping and other activities, but it’s also a popular breed for pleasure riding.

It is not easily spooked, so it’s a good horse to take riding on the trail or into the city. It’s also intelligent and easy to train, so you can see it in many movies and shows, especially old westerns.

How Much Do Tennessee Walking Horses Cost?

Tennessee Walking horses usually average around $2,000 per horse, but the cost can vary widely depending on how many breeders are in your area and overall demand. If you need your horse to be broken in and trained when you buy it, you will need to spend more. A fully trained horse can often run $10,000 or more.

Typical Behavior & Temperament

The Tennessee Walker is a calm breed that’s easy to train for the show ring. It enjoys being around people and being active. It can be a bit stubborn when it comes to its gate, so if you need exaggerated movements for competition, you may need to look for professional assistance. Your horse will enjoy being brushed and showered with attention, and some might get mad if they don’t feel like you are spending enough time with them, so you should expect to spend several hours each day with your horse.

Appearance & Varieties

The Tennessee Walking Horse is a tall breed that often stands close to 17 hands high. It has a long neck and a well-defined head.

It’s available in several colors and usually has a pinto pattern. Some of the colors you might see include bay, black, chestnut, cream, and more. It has a four-beat gate that keeps the hooves on the ground providing a smoother ride than many other breeds. You can improve the gate with training, but you cannot teach a horse how to do it if it doesn’t already know.

Tennessee Walking Horse
Image Credit: Jean, Flickr

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How to Take Care of Tennessee Walking Horses

Habitat, Pen Conditions & Setup

Most experts recommend a circular pen with a diameter between 50 and 60 feet for training and riding, with some going as high as 65 feet or more. Larger pens will allow your horse to go faster and reduce the strain on its inner joints, but it will cause you to run around a lot more if you are not riding it.

Your horse will also need shelter from rain and snow. Nearly any enclosure is suitable as long as it will provide your horse with a 12-foot by 12-foot area. Many people use a barn or a stable, but a three-sided enclosure will also work if the climate doesn’t get too cold. You will need to place plenty of hay in this enclosure for your horse to eat and lay down. It will also need a large water tank, as your horse can drink several gallons each day.

Do Tennessee Walking Horses Get Along with Other Pets?

Yes, the Tennessee Walking horse has an easy-going and friendly temperament and rarely becomes aggressive toward other horses and people. It’s too large for most other animals to bother with though some dog breeds with a herding instinct may try to chase after it.

Tennessee Walking_Horse
Image Credit: Jean, Flickr

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What to Feed Your Tennessee Walking Horse

Your Tennessee Walking horse primarily eats hay and grass. If you live in the southern states and have large amounts of land, you may not need to supply your horse with much food at all. However, during the winter, when they are spending more time in the shelter, you will need to supplement their normal feeding with clean, dry hay. Your horse is also fond of vegetables and can get plenty of nutrients from them, and the occasional fruit treat is something they will enjoy as well.

Keeping Your Tennessee Walking Horse Healthy

The Tennessee Walking horse is a hardy breed with few health problems and a long-life span that can reach up to 30 years. Providing it with a healthy diet and plenty of activity is the best way to ensure a healthy horse. An animal that spends too much time in the shelter can become overweight. They may experience muscle atrophy as well, causing them to be more susceptible to falling and injury. The joints’ added strain caused by being overweight with little muscle will lead to arthritis and even lameness if left unattended.

Breeding

If you are interested in becoming a breeder of Tennessee Walking horses, most experts recommend purchasing a stallion and renting it out to prospective mares.

With this system, the horses come to you, and you only need to collect the cash. When trying to breed the mares, you need to have a strong knowledge of genetics and all horse pregnancy stages, including giving birth. Of course, if you are looking to create a new breed, you will need this knowledge anyway.

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Are Tennessee Walking Horses Suitable For You?

The Tennessee Walking horse is an excellent choice for anyone looking for the perfect riding horse. Its calm demeanor means it isn’t likely to get spooked by dog barks or traffic, so it’s less likely to throw you. Its unique walking gate provides you with a smoother ride than almost any other breed, so it’s perfect for children and the elderly. It’s available in several colors and has a long life span, so it will provide you with endless hours of enjoyment.

We hope you have enjoyed reading this in-depth look at one of the most unique horse breeds and have decided to get one for your farm. If you have learned something new and think it can help others, please share this guide to Tennessee Walking horses on Facebook and Twitter.


Featured Image: Smeerjewegproducties, Shutterstock