Walk to a different rhythm
The hills and valleys of Middle Tennessee, sloping gradually to the steeper inclines of the Cumberland Plateau, formed the nursery for a breed of horse gaited unlike anything else in the world. This kind of horse was, in essence, a utility animal capable of performing a smooth, nodding walk under saddle, but equally capable of working in harness or pulling a plow. As the reputation for his good qualities spread, demand for this horse created another market for the Middle Tennessee farmer in addition to corn, cotton, tobacco, and mules. A registry was formed for horses of this type, and their market value soared. Although the show ring winners commanded the highest prices, the demand for green stock was also high.
Then a war ended in Europe and the South Pacific, something new found its way to the farms of Tennessee – the tractor. Its efficient availability, coupled with a pasture-killing drought in the early fifties, destroyed the market for the farmer’s horses. The avenue for marketing that remained was the limited one of the show ring. As the standards for the show ring changed in the mid- fifties, a change in breeding standards occurred.
“Black and pacey” became the key to success in the sometimes lucrative yearling sales that surrounded each September Celebration. In spite of the shifts in focus of the majority of the Walking Horse breeders in Tennessee, a stubborn few refused to surrender to the trends that threatened to eliminate the natural Walking Horse from his state of birth. These stubborn individuals retained the original vision, standing stallions and breeding mares from bloodlines that had been in their families for years, some of which predated the creation of the TWHBEA. Ignored for decades, these breeders are finally seeing the bright light of success, as demand for what they preserved is once again strong throughout the country – and now the world.
Six breeders who dedicated themselves to preserving the rare, old bloodlines of the breed founded the Tennessee Walking Horse Heritage Society in 2003. Their goal was to promote and treasure old, unique, rare bloodlines and the original type of Tennessee Walking Horses as seen back in the thirties and forties. In response to the demand for this Heritage Walking Horse over the ten –plus years of the Society’s existence, the Heritage Society has formed the InternationaI Heritage Walking Horse Association for all people who prefer to walk to a different rhythm, the original rhythm, of a head-shaking, teeth popping running walk, keg shod, down a country lane.
IHWHA preserves naturally gaited Walking Horses with old bloodlines. An important aspect of assuring natural gaits is the certification process. IHWHA is the first American gaited breed association setting a rule for certification of horses under saddle from the age of three and older.
IHWHA also is against any form of animal abuse and it goes without saying IHWHA is a strong supporter of the PAST Act.
Sane & sound
Copyright © International Heritage Walking Horse Association, Inc
Po Box 267 Whitehall, WI 54773-0267 info@IHWHA.com