This is my first attempt at a blog. I am certainly not as hip with social media as today’s world demands. I prefer the quiet peacefulness of the country to the social media world. I do believe it is very important to provide the social media world with some important facts about the Tennessee Walking Horse since there is an overwhelming amount of propaganda found all of the internet and blatant falsehoods shared via many forms of social media.
We’ll start with why the Tennessee Walking Horse is such a unique breed. In motion, the Tennessee Walking Horse over strides. Simply, the hind feet stride further than the front feet. This over stride produces a shift of center and weight redistribution to the rear legs. It has been said that the Tennessee Walking Horse is rear-wheel drive. Since the Tennessee Walking Horse is bearing more weight on its hind legs, which are driving its back end while reaching out in front of where its front leg is, the front legs must reach forward to essentially get out of the way of the rear legs. The lifting action of the front legs is a result of the front limbs being freed up because they bear less weight than the rear legs. These properties are genetic, are present at birth. This unique movement and gait has been acknowledged by studies performed at Mississippi State and the University of Tennessee. A good read is Paul Roberson’s study, “Gait in the Tennessee Walking Horse” which should be available through the University of Tennessee.
While proper training and conditioning can produce a more consistent gait with the Tennessee Walking Horse, the gait itself cannot be replicated in another breed that does not share its genetic makeup.
The inherit unique gait of the Tennessee Walking Horse remains the same regardless of what shoe it wears or if it is barefoot. While the gait may be exaggerated by the use of a variety of weighted shoes or pads, the underlying gait remains the same.
Because the gait of the Tennessee Walking Horse is so unique, it is often misunderstood. In society, people tend to criticize that which they do not understand.