Genetic Diseases of Tennessee Walking Horses


Tennessee Walking Horses are a breed named for their unique, exaggerated gait. Instead of the standard walk, trot, and canter that most other horses have, the Tennessee Walking Horse (also called the Tennessee Walker) has a flat walk, a running walk, and a relaxed canter. The horse will bob his head and twitch his ears in rhythm with his feet during either of the walks. Since the Tennessee Walker is such a unique breed, some genetic problems have developed over years of selective breeding.


  • Equine Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy (EPSSM) is a genetic disorder that appears frequently in Tennessee Walkers. It's a neuromuscular disorder that manifests as an abnormal gait, back pain, muscular atrophy, and post-anesthetic myopathy. This disorder is not unique to Tennessee Walkers—it also appears in quarterhorses and other warmbloods—but it is common in them.

Moon Blindness

Joint Problems

  • Tennessee Walkers are also prone to joint problems, which occur more frequently in horses that perform in shows. Show horses are asked to carry their weight in the rear, freeing up their front legs for high leg lifts and other unnatural movements. This leads to hock, stifle, and rear fetlock diseases and injuries.

Related Searches


  • Photo Credit walking horse image by Clarence Alford from
Promoted By Zergnet


You May Also Like

  • About Tennessee Walkers

    This showy breed is known for its cool, calm and collected temperament and though they have a highly animated rocking-horse movement they...

  • What Is EPDM Roofing?

    Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM) roofing is a type of thermoset membrane roof material. It is the most common material used to...

  • How to Shoe a Tennessee Walking Horse

    Owning a Tennessee walking horse can be enjoyable and rewarding, providing owners with both outdoor activities and companionship. While owning a walking...

  • What Are Heterozygous & Homozygous Traits in Horses?

    The terms homozygous and heterozygous refers to specific genetic markers in a horse, which may determine factors related to inherited physical traits,...

  • Genetic Diseases in Chihuahuas

    Chihuahuas are a generally healthy and hardy breed. These small dogs weigh less than six pounds fully grown, according to the Dog...

Related Searches

Check It Out

How to Make an Elevated Dog Feeder

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!