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The Tennessee Walking Horse, (E. f. caballus ,) was named the official state horse by Public Chapter 596 of the 101st General Assembly in 2000. Bred mainly from Standardbred, Morgan, Thoroughbred, and American Saddle bred stock. Tennessee wallkers are one of the smoothest riding horses in the world. They have 3 smooth, natural gaits: the flat-foot walk, the running walk, and the canter,
The Tennessee Walking Horse or Tennessee Walker is a breed of gaited horse known for its unique four-beat "running walk" and flashy movement. It was originally developed in the southern United States for use on farms and plantations. It is a popular riding horse due to its calm disposition, smooth gaits and sure-footedness. The Tennessee Walking Horse is often seen in the show ring, but also popular as a pleasure and trail riding horse using both English and Western equipment. Tennessee Walkers are also seen in movies, television shows and other performances.
The three, easy-riding gaits of this breed: the flat-foot walk, the running walk, and the canter, are all natural, inherited characteristics, making this breed one of the smoothest riding horses in the world. This breed was a practical utility horse in the beginning and evolved into a pleasure horse with its gentle ride. Tennessee Walking Horses generally range from 14.3 to 17 hands and weigh 900 to 1,200 pounds.
In general appearance, the Tennessee Walking Horse should have an intelligent look, neat head, well-shaped and pointed ears, clear and alert eyes and a tapered muzzle. The neck should be long and graceful and the shoulders muscular and well sloping. The back should be short with good coupling at the loins. The animal should be deep in the girth and well ribbed and the chest should be of good proportion and width. The croup should be generally sloping and the hips well muscled with muscular development extending down toward the hocks. The legs should be flat and cordy.
The breed was originally a type of horse used by farmers and plantation owners for use as a mount in the field where its gait and endurance were highly valued. Breeders crossed the best of the Narragansett Pacers, Thoroughbreds, Standardbreds, and Morgans, added the Saddlebred for refinement, and came up with what we call the Tennessee Walking horse.
The acknowledged foundation sire of the Tennessee Walking Horse is Allan F-1 (also called Black Allan) who was foaled in Kentucky in 1886. His sire was a Standardbred (Allendorf) and his dam a Morgan (Maggie Marshall). The breed became officially registered in 1935 with the founding of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' and Exhibitors' Association.
The three gaits of the Tennessee Walking Horse are inborn and can be seen even in young foals. The flat walk is a loose, four-beat gait, about five to seven miles per hour, with each foot striking the ground separately and regularly. The horse's head nods in cadence with each footfall. The overstride of the hind feet gives the gait its smoothness. The running-walk is a faster version of the flat walk, about eight to ten miles per hour, still with the same head shaking looseness and overstride. The canter is just as distinctive as the other two gaits, a collected gallop with a "rocking chair" motion.
Chapter No. 596] PUBLIC ACTS, 2000 1
CHAPTER NO. 596
SENATE BILL NO. 2126
By Womack, Harper
Substituted for: House Bill No. 2519
AN ACT To amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 4, Chapter 1, Part 3, to designate the Tennessee Walking Horse as the official state horse.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE:
SECTION 1. Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 4, Chapter 1, Part 3, is amended by adding the following language as a new section:
Section 4-1-3__. State Horse. The Tennessee Walking Horse is hereby designated as the official "state horse".
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect on July 1, 2000, the public welfare requiring it.
PASSED: March 13, 2000
APPROVED this 21st day of March 2000
The law designating the Tennessee Walking Horse as the official Tennessee state horse is found in the Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 4, Chapter 1, Part 3, Section 4-1-325.
Title 4 State Government
Chapter 1 General Provisions
Part 3 State Symbols
Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-1-325 (2011)
4-1-325. State horse.
The Tennessee Walking Horse is hereby designated as the official state horse.
HISTORY: Acts 2000, ch. 596, § 1.
Taxonomic Hierarchy: Tennessee Walking Horse
Species: E. ferus
Subspecies: E. f. caballus