The Tennessee Walking horse represents a breed of light horses. They became famous because of their ability to work in the fields and provide their owners a comfortable gait. As a matter of fact, these horses can still give the rider a smooth gait and dexterity even in the rocky terrains of Tennessee. Tennessee Walking horses are seldom seen in any form of equestrian sports, but they are very famous in trail riding due to their smooth gait, endurance and gentle temperament.
Aside from their manner of walking, Tennessee horses are also known for their calmness, that’s why it’s relatively easy to train this breed. They are even appealing in pleasure riding and in horse shows and exhibitions. Historically speaking, this horse breed originated from several breeds: the Canadian Pacer, Morgans, Thoroughbreds, American Standardbreds, Saddlebreds, and Narranganett Pacers. It is said that the first breeders of the Tennessee Walking horse wanted to have a horse that may be ridden all day long across the terrains of their ranches in Tennessee.
The Tennesse Wallking horse is very suitable for ranch work. In the West, they are used in jumping and other gaming events. And in the show ring, this horse breed performs well in Model, English, and Western classes.
Due to the gentleness and natural obedience of this horse breed, a horse trainer does not need to use complicated bits and other horse equipments anymore. Even a simple snaffle bit with a short shank and a set of reins can control and command not just the Tennessee Walking horses, but also other walking horses, like the stallions.
However, most riders have the tendency to tighten the snaffle at the poll. Riders must always remember that walking horses move rather faster than other horses. For this reason, most beginner riders find it hard to cope with the agility of a walking horse. They therefore tend to squeeze the rein, making it hard for the horse to nod properly. The horse will definitely feel uncomfortable with this. And instead of actually riding a Tennessee Walking horse, these reckless riders find out later on that they seemed to be riding a Racking horse instead.
Aside from snaffle bits, riders and trainers may also use for this horse breed the double twisted wire walking horse bit and the fixed cheek walking horse bit. These horse bits usually cost around $32. They may be bought in local horse equipment shops and on the Internet.
Riding a Tennessee walking horse should always be accompanied with gentleness. The pressure exerted on the reins must be soft enough in order to give effective commands to the animal. The rider must also avoid exerting too much pressure on the horse’s head, most especially tugging the reins, which causes him to only increase his head activity. Also, the rider should avoid setting the horse’ head by stretching them at the poll. These actions will constrain the neck muscles of the horse, causing him to nodding at the poll instead of nodding from the withers. This will gravely affect the soft gait of the horse.
In short, for a kind and soft equine like the Tennessee horse, a gentle horse bit must be employed in order to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable ride.