I just read this post on Bel Joeor (a great blog, by the way.) and I loved it, so, here’s my spin off. I couldn’t put all of my thoughts into a single comment and didn’t want to go off and write a novel in the comments. 😉
We all have a breed of choice. I know many of you love Thoroughbred’s, it seems like nearly every blog I follow is centered around a TB (more often than not, an OTTB.) I see a few Quarter Horses, and a couple Warmblood’s thrown in the mix. You all brag on those breeds and I can tell through your posts that there’s a preference there. Every rider has a preference on what type of horse they like, and typically, a breed will say a lot about the horse. If you like an intelligent and athletic horse, a TB could be a good fit. If you want something athletic but something that will mosey down trails or jog around on a loose rein, there’s a lot of good Quarters out there that would probably fit the bill. If you want a great trail horse with some speed, you may love a gaited horse.
I grew up around gaited and non gaited horses. My aunt (who owned Red.) loved gaited horses and they had a few, my mother, however, has always disliked them because they don’t fit what she wants in a horse and they don’t mesh with her personality. My mom loves a good, floaty trot (who doesn’t?) but can’t stand a running walk or a rack. I naturally took after my mom’s opinions on gaited horses, and went after Quarters since Red is a Quarter Horse. Red is forever my favorite horse I’ll probably ever have, and I do have a ginormous appreciation for a good Quarter Horse. But something changed my opinion on breeds. After I got the chance to be around gaited horses at our previous barn, and after I got the opportunity to ride a handful of them, I got bit by the gaited horse bug.
Then…I ended up talking my parents into letting me bring a skinny, abused and neglected Tennessee Walking Horse.
Jubilee has changed me completely. Nowadays, I can’t picture myself without a gaited horse. My next horse will be gaited. I love the personality of Walkers – if you’ve been around them, you’ll know that they (typically, there’s always one in every bunch that could be crazy or a complete jerk) have very calm and loyal personalities. I can’t tell you how many Walkers that I’ve heard of/met that have endured complete torture in Big Lick barns, and have come out of it still loyal to those humans, still trusting in people, and ready to love. This breed typically doesn’t hold a grudge, they love their people and will do anything to please you, even if it means being in pain for their riders sake.
Not to mention, riding them is one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve ever had. There’s not much like going full speed on a horse (and trust me, they can fly.) and literally not moving out of your saddle. It’s comforting for someone like me who’s had some struggles with speed and fear, knowing that hey, I can go fast, and my body is going to remain in my saddle. It seems safer to me, a comfort zone.
Tennessee Walkers have kind of weird conformation at times, but when you find a well built one, it’s gorgeous. No, it’s not going to look like an apple bottomed Quarter Horse, or a fit Thoroughbred, but it’s got a beauty of it’s own. They just seem regal, something special.
I fell in love with a breed that was very unlikely for me to like, and I’m completely dedicated to helping other horses out of situations like Jubilee was in. I have to put a plug in here, and remind you all of the abuse that they go through. If you haven’t, please do research on the abuse that TWH’s face every day and try to find a way to contact your state and help end Big Lick. It happens everywhere, not just in Tennessee.
Let’s end this for this beautiful breed.