OP, if you're still in Southern Illinois, you aren't that far from southern Middle Tennessee when it comes to horse shopping.
The Taylor Brothers have been on horses since they were little boys. They told me things about the ancestors on my senior Walking Horse's papers (the stocky guy in my avatar) that most of the modern day breeders probably aren't aware of because they're too busy crawling over top of of each trying to be King of the Celebration Hill. It pays to know your ancestors-------------
This is Billy Taylor twhheritagesociety.com
And his brother Danny twhheritagesociety.com
Both raise Heritage Walkers for pleasure riding. They are honest folk that love their horses.
You would probably love this 15.3H talkative Big Suck Up-in-your-pocket guy but he's not for sale - lol lol His 12 yr old self is insulin resistant anyway, so he requires extra attention to keep him healthy.
This was his first ride in four years (that backbrace I'm wearing is no joking around - I'm not even supposed to clean stalls much less ride). I got on him and he went out the driveway like he'd been doing that every day:)
He was bred up in Wilson County Tennessee. I could try and locate his breeder to see if she still has any of her herd left. Last I knew she was really downsizing because "younger she wasn't getting" :)
Just so you know, Tennessee Walkers ARE on the predisposed list for metabolic issues. The chunk in my avatar and the chunk in this pic both suffer from them. My big lanky athletic built TWH does not but, that doesn't mean he can't, someday. They don't need pumped full of any sort of grain unless they're being worked really hard. All three of mine are easy keepers.