Walking horse is one of many "gaited horses", with a distinctive method of
travel that is both comfortable to ride and ground-covering. The Walker's
unique gait is known as the running walk, although they will also perform
the flat walk and a wonderful rocking chair canter.
The TWH originated from the Standardbred, Morgan, American Saddlebred,
Naragansett Pacer, and Thoroughbred. Also called a plantation horse, they
were used on farms and plantations, and highly prized for their easy riding
gaits that covered a lot of ground quickly and their endurance. Selective
breeding refined the gaits and the result is the popular horse we know as
the Tennessee Walker.
The flat walk is
a four beat gait from 5 to 7 miles per hour, with each hoof striking the
ground separately. The horse's head nods in cadence, which is distinctive in
the TWH. The running walk is a faster version of the flat walk, moving 8 to
10 miles per hour.
Walking Horses generally range from 14.3 to 17 hands and weigh 900 to 1,200
pounds. They come in all colors and markings.
Walkers are used in endurance, competitive trail, field trials, trail
riding, western riding, and many more equestrian pursuits.