The Tennessee Walking Horse is a gaited breed known for its smooth running walk and typically placid disposition. However, as with any breed, a young or untrained Tennessee Walking Horse may be an energetic mount prone to rambunctious behavior. Only experienced riders with training experience should attempt to train any horse without professional assistance.
Things You'll Need
- Lead Rope
- Round Pen
Practice ground work using a halter and lead rope. If your horse is not well-trained to lead, begin by working in a round pen. Lead your horse in circles to the left and right, then practice halting and backing in hand. Continue practicing this step until your horse can easily be led around his stable and will back, turn, move forward and yield his forehand and haunches on cue.
Introduce your horse to the tack you plan to use for training under saddle. Use a clicker and treats to reward your Tennessee Walking Horse for standing quietly as you tack and untack her. Depending upon the horse's temperament, you may need to practice this for several sessions before she accepts tack calmly while standing and while being led in hand.
Longe your Tennessee Walking Horse in a round pen while he wears the tack you intend to use for riding. You may wish to begin longeing with a surcingle and side reins, progressing to a saddle and bridle after your horse will walk, trot and canter calmly on a longe line.
Mount your horse for the first time. If possible, ask an experienced helper to hold your Tennessee Walking Horse while you practice mounting and dismounting. Be careful not to accidentally kick your horse or sit down on her back too roughly.
Ride at a relaxed walk for progressively longer periods of time. Tennessee Walking horses are traditionally trained at the walk until they have walked with a rider for a distance roughly equal to 100 miles. At that point, the horse will be asked to calmly canter while carrying a rider. Tennessee Walking Horses should not pace or trot.