Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Middle Tennessee
• Horses: 0
Guilherme offered some excellent insight and advice.
I would also recommend investing in anything "Lee Ziegler".
I was gait-stupid when I bought my first TWH nearly 20 years ago and I am sure glad I was because I would have missed out on the horse of a lifetime<--- he is a hard lateral pacer in the pasture, BUT when being ridden his Stepping Pace is every bit as smooth as the running walk my other two TWH's perform.
Except for parades or those very rare times I have let my good friend ride him, I have never put a saddle on him and we have done some pretty tough trails in a few states.
He is now 22 yrs, 8 mos and does have hock arthritis. Insulin resistance exploded on him three years ago, so I have to be careful what I give him for his arthritis. Since we are both "up there pretty good", we stick to hacking around locally.
His is still a huge motored horse (though not for as long) and his dog walk (flat walk) has always been fast. He is only 14.3H, which is considered pony in the TWH world but he has outwalked and outlasted many horses much bigger than his bad little self.
Some people are afraid of him because his eyes get really wide when he sees humans being stupid and, being the alpha dominant horse, he has quite an attitude. He is not an in-your-pocket horse, but he has never in his life offered to bite, kick, rear, or buck-----ever.
He delights in intimidating "intimidatable" humans, but my barefoot trimmer wishes he could find "a 100 horses just like Duke and he'd be a wealthy man".
He is the TWH in my avatar; the pic was taken on an organized trail ride when he was 16 and could still go 6 hours finishing in the top 10 out of nearly 300 horses without any pushing from me whatsover (before I-R).
We communicate on a silent plain and understand each other perfectly.
My other two TWH's are capable of pacing themselves (figuratively) on an all day ride and won't wear themselves out either, albeit they don't move out as fast as Duke.
One of them is as in-your-pocket as any horse I've ever owned, the other is very aloof (not with the attitude of the first TWH, just sort of ho-hum about human interaction unless getting his forehead scratched is involved.
I have never tried to make any of them fit into a pre-conceived "hole". They are each their own person and I have let them all reach their own level of potential in the trail riding world we have always ridden in.
Back when I was hard trail riding, none of my TWH's ever wore keg shoes. They wore those "d***nable Quarter Horse" rim shoes with borium head nails (according to some TWH folks) and were trimmed to benefit the hoof shape and angle the Good Lord gave them. They even had QH short toes as opposed to the traditional long toes that many TWH folks thought they should have in order to "gait properly"<---that is a fallacy; none of my three have ever had problems holding their intermediate gait because their toes were "too short".
To coin a phrase of my ex's, "it didn't make sense to a Jackass" to me to try and weight & change a hoof just because it was attached to a Tennessee Walker.
If you connect with this mare and decide to bring her home, saddle fit can sometimes be a huge issue with TWH's because of the huge sweeping motion their shoulders make.
I never ride anyone with saddle but, if someone comes to ride, I do have saddles for each of the TWH's that were either custom made for them or I got lucky and stumbled on a good used custom-made saddle that fit.
Those sweeping shoulder movements also need more lunging room than trotting horses need.
I hope the mare works for you. TWH's are, on the whole, very forgiving of human error. If there are crazy ones out there, thank the humans that made them that way --- it has been to their own destruction that they so willingly take all the push and shove "for the sake of winning" that they have been subjected to over the years. Yet someone who truly cares can rehab them in a shorter amount of time than some of the other registered breeds, because they continue to want to see the good in us and to please.