JUNE 1997 BACK ISSUE
Part of Horse Previews Magazine website. Posted on 6/1/97; 10:00:00 AM.
The Beauty of The Tennessee Walking Horse
Just got your notes yesterday and I am trying to think what might be interesting to your readers regarding gaited horses for June's issue. Here's a few.
First a little about us. My wife Betsy has always been "in" horses, myself just the last 15 years. Both of us are in our "retirement years". We have our main stallion, Gentle Thunder, and several mares and an assortment of young horses. In the past we showed a lot but now most of our activities are directed to pleasure riding and horse camping. The last several years we have spent time in the Blue Mountains, Salmo Priest, Snake River and many trips to the Colville National Forest to name some of the most recent. This year we plan to go to the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Usually my son Michael goes with us. He has several walking horses, is a farrier and loves to ride. We also have a white buggy, it's a two seat surrey with a convertible top. It's usually pulled by Sandy our Champagne colored gelding. We do several weddings with it each year.
All of our horses are consistently easy to ride and many kids and inexperienced riders have ridden them. All have a disposition that allows this and without exception have been people friendly.
I remember my first trip to the Snake River country. The trail wound down to the river when all of a sudden around a bend I looked and the river was 60 feet below. The trail was only a five foot ledge overlooking the Snake. I was surprised and let out a couple of "OH BOYS" and was promptly told by Michael, my son, to be quiet or the horse would become excited also. Thank goodness I did and the horse didn't. I remember looking down and seeing many fish in the water and thinking we didn't have our fishing pole. By our estimate we rode 60 miles that week and not a foot at a trot. That's what is nice about gaited horses.
Once in the Snake, Michael thought our horses would ground tie and after the load shifted he tried to straighten it. One of our mares decided packing was not for her. She casually took off and scattered her load over the countryside. She wasn't hard to catch but did get a lesson in ground tying afterwards. She is now one of our most trusted trail horses and nothing seems to bother her.
Last winter we took two horses to southern California for several months. During that time we rode them in the desert and mountains around Palm Springs. The jack rabbits nor rattle snakes bother them but one thing did. As we were leisurely riding up the wash on a windy afternoon, suddenly both of our horses took off at a full gallop. Not being hard to stop we turned around to see what caused it. We quickly spotted the culprit, a large ball of tumble weed still going 50 MPH up the wash, or so it must have seemed to the horses. Both having this experience that, they were never frightened by tumble weed again (that trip).
I am well into my retirement years and don't have the endurance and stamina I once did. I still like to be in the out doors and be around animals. Our horses allow me to do that with relative ease. It is a well known fact that the walk is much smoother than the trot. Tennessee Walking Horses walk and do it fast, most often faster than other horses trot. They are mostly people friendly and this means a lot to me!
What I might say to those of you who ride other horse breeds, "try one, you will like it."