Tennessee Walker: Breed Profile

| Updated: January 19, 2023
Tennessee Walker galloping

Origin and History:

The Tennessee Walking Horse, also known as the Tennessee Walker, is a breed of horse that originated in the southern United States. It is best known for its unique gait, the running walk. The Tennessee Walking Horse was developed in the late 18th century and early 19th century from a variety of breeds. The foundation sire of the breed was a gaited pacer named Black Allen, an off-track Thoroughbred racehorse owned by Blackstable, a Tennessee plantation owner. Over time, the breed developed into a show horse and was recognized as an official breed in 1935. The Tennessee Walking Horse is an exceptionally versatile breed, being used in a variety of disciplines, including western, hunt seat, and dressage. Today, the Tennessee Walker is a popular breed that is widely used for pleasure riding and show events.

Physical Characteristics:

The Tennessee Walker Horse is a noble breed that has been around for centuries. With a long, muscular body and a graceful gait, this breed has a lot to offer. They typically have a solid white face and are usually bay, black, or chestnut in color. Tennessee Walkers stand 15-17 hands high and can weigh up to 1,200 pounds. They have long, low heads, short backs, and powerful hindquarters, making them ideal for trail riding. They are known for their smooth gaits, including the flat-footed, running walk.

Unique Characteristics:

The Tennessee Walker Horse is a unique breed of horse that has become increasingly popular over the years, especially in the United States. These horses are known for their smooth and relaxed gait, which is a result of their unique conformation and muscle structure. They are also known for their intelligence, loyalty, and docile nature, making them a great choice for those looking for an all-around equine partner. Tennessee Walker Horses are also known for their flashy and high-stepping gaits, which make them a popular choice for show horses. Their glossy coats and long manes and tails give them a regal look, while their laid-back personality makes them a great choice for pleasure riding, trail riding, and even therapy work. With their unique characteristics and friendly nature, Tennessee Walker Horses are truly one-of-a-kind.

Tennessee walker next to a small dog
Credit: Anita Atta/Gettyimages

Interesting Facts:

Tennessee Walker Horses are beloved for their smooth, graceful gaits and easygoing demeanor. Here are five interesting facts about this wonderful breed that you may not know:

1. Tennessee Walkers are thought to have descended from horses brought to the American colonies by European settlers in the 1700s.

2. They’re the only breed of horse that’s native to the United States.

3. The Tennessee Walker’s distinctive, four-beat gait is called the “running walk”, and it’s one of the smoothest gaits in the horse world.

4. Their calm nature and easy-going demeanor make them great trail horses, and they’re also favored as show horses in a variety of disciplines.

5. Elvis Presley’s horse, ‘Bear’, was a black Tennessee Walker.

Sports and Competitions:

The Tennessee Walker Horse is a popular breed of horse in the world of sports. This breed is known for its smooth gaits, which make it well-suited for activities such as show jumping, dressage, and eventing. The Tennessee Walker Horse is also seen in the show ring, competing in a variety of disciplines. Its unique gait and handsome looks make it a favorite among both amateur and professional riders. In addition, the Tennessee Walker Horse is often used in the western discipline of barrel racing, where its agility and speed make it a valuable asset. This breed is a pleasure to ride, and its versatility makes it a popular choice for many riders. Whether you’re looking for a show partner or a trail mount, the Tennessee Walker Horse is sure to be a great fit!

Diet and Nutrition:

When it comes to diet and nutrition, Tennessee Walker horses have special needs due to their active lifestyle. These graceful horses need a diet that is high in quality proteins and carbohydrates to provide them with enough energy for their long-distance gaits. They also need a diet that is high in minerals and vitamins to support their strong hooves and healthy joints. To meet these needs, a balanced diet of hay, grain, and supplements should be used. Hay should make up the majority of the diet, providing the horse with fiber and other essential nutrients. Grains like oats and barley should be fed sparingly, as they can quickly cause weight gain if fed in excess. Supplements like electrolytes, joint support, and probiotics should also be added to the diet to provide the horse with the necessary nutrients to stay healthy and perform at their best.

Common Health Issues:

Tennessee Walker Horses are a majestic breed that can be found in many parts of the world. They are known for their smooth gait and are often used in show jumping and dressage. While they are generally healthy, there are a few common health problems to look out for. One of the most common issues is a hoof issue called “founder”. This occurs when the horse’s hooves become too soft, leading to lameness and pain. As a preventative measure, it’s important to have the horse’s hooves trimmed regularly to maintain proper foot health. Another issue is colic, which is a digestive disorder that can cause abdominal pain and discomfort. It is important to ensure the horse is getting a balanced diet and is not eating too much grain. Lastly, the Tennessee Walker Horse is prone to skin problems such as rain rot and scratches. Proper grooming can help prevent these conditions, as can protecting the horse from extreme weather conditions.


Grooming a Tennessee Walker horse isn’t just about making it look pretty; it’s about providing your horse with the best care possible. With proper grooming, you can help ensure your horse stays healthy and happy. Start by brushing your horse’s coat. Use a soft brush to remove dirt and debris. Pay special attention to their mane and tail, and make sure to get any burrs or tangles out. Next, clean their hooves using a hoof pick. This will help prevent any infection or disease. Finish up by giving your horse a good bath. Make sure to use a shampoo that’s designed for horses. This will help keep their coat shiny and clean. Grooming your Tennessee Walker doesn’t have to be a chore – it can be an enjoyable activity that you and your horse can share. With the right techniques and products, you can keep your horse looking their best!

Famous Examples:

Tennessee Walker Horses are well known for their grace and athleticism, which is why they have often been featured in media and history. The most famous Tennessee Walker Horse was ‘Sorrel’, a horse ridden by General Robert E. Lee during the Civil War. He was known for his smooth gait, which allowed him to carry the general over long distances. In more recent times, Tennessee Walker Horses have also been featured in films such as ‘The Horse Whisperer’ and ‘Seabiscuit’. These horses are often chosen for their gentle nature, as well as their unique gait and smooth ride. Tennessee Walker Horses have a long and proud history, and they will undoubtedly continue to be featured in all forms of media in the future.

Where to Adopt or Buy:

If you’re looking to add a Tennessee Walker Horse to your family, you have two great options: adoption or purchase. Adoption is an excellent choice if you’re looking for an older horse that needs a home. Organizations like the Tennessee Walking Horse National Museum and the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association are great places to start. Plus, you can usually expect lower adoption fees than you would pay for a horse from a breeder.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a specific pedigree, you may want to purchase a Tennessee Walker from a breeder. The Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association maintains a list of its members who breed and sell Tennessee Walkers. Many of these breeders specialize in different types of Tennessee Walkers and offer a variety of options.

Pair of Tennessee Walker horses running in the rain.
Credit: Anita Atta/Gettyimages


The Tennessee Walker Horse is an incredibly special breed of horse that has been enjoyed by riders for generations. From their unique four-beat gait to their even temperament, the Tennessee Walker Horse is a great choice for those looking for a horse with a smooth ride and a gentle spirit. With their luxurious manes and tails, the Tennessee Walker Horse is a beautiful animal both in the show ring and out. Tennessee Walkers are known for their intelligence, loyalty, and willingness to please, making them great family horses as well. With their unique gait and willingness to please, the Tennessee Walker Horse is a favorite among riders of all levels. Whether you’re looking for a horse for your next show or just a companion for a leisurely trail ride, the Tennessee Walker Horse is a great choice.


Did you know that Tennessee Walking Horses are one of the most popular horse breeds? These majestic animals are known for their easy-going temperaments, grace, and intelligence. If you’re considering adding one of these beautiful creatures to your life, you likely have some questions. Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions about Tennessee Walking Horses:

What makes the Tennessee Walking Horse unique?

The Tennessee Walking Horse is best known for its smooth, four-beat gait, which is often referred to as the running walk. This gait is created by a combination of the horse’s natural movement and the training it receives. This breed is also known for its calm, gentle nature and intelligence.

What color are Tennessee Walking Horses?

The Tennessee Walking Horse comes in a variety of colors, from chestnut to black, bay to palomino, and more.

BuzzPetz Staff Author Image
BuzzPetz Staff

Temporary BuzzPetz About Us

Read More

Leave the first comment

More From BuzzPetz

Before you go - You'll want to check out these articles!
[ultimatemember form_id="4648"]

Already a member?

Login Here

[uwp_register id="3" title="register"]

Not a member?

Register Here