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[ Gaited horses affiliate ]

yankee Walkers, gaited horses of new england

across miles of trails has saved me (and my knees) from many hours of posting. his gentle canter is easy to ride across open fields, but can be kicked into high gear for flat-out speed when needed. The surefootedness and stamina of the Discuss the Thrill of the Hunter Pace Walker breed is also extremely well suited to hunter paces, given the length Submitted by Karen anderSon; Photo by herb wiSchow of the courses, varied terrain and jumps. (As a side note Those of us lucky enough to anyone who is under the to own a Tennessee Walking misconception that Walkers horse (TWh) know that they are can’t jump—trust me, incredibly versatile horses. To they can). the wider horse world, however, As much as their gait, they are often viewed simply Tennessee Walkers are equally as trail mounts or (sadly) show renowned for their calm, horses plagued with a history levelheaded demeanor and of controversial training and easygoing personalities, which showing practices. Rarely are is a good thing since a hunter they seen in the sport horse pace can be a chaotic event. disciplines, which is a shame, not only can there sometimes because if my TWh fear be 100+ horses milling around nothing (barn name “fame”) is in the starting area, but trails any indication, their potential in can become clogged with those is unlimited—especially in teams passing each other and my favorite, hunter paces. two-way traffic crossings. for those unfamiliar with out on the course, you never the discipline, a hunter pace is know what you are going to competition in which a six- to encounter. It’s not unusual ten-mile cross-country trail is to ride past farms with cows marked for teams of horses and and barking dogs or to come riders to follow. The course across a discarded washing generally consists of a mix of machine or a scary pile of open country and wooded trails tires hidden in the woods. and contains anywhere from fame’s steady temperament is 20-40 jumping obstacles. on the essential for us to be able to day of the event, prior to the safely navigate the chaos. It start, the organizers of the event Karen Anderson riding Fame with teammate Donna Smith on Mickey at the 2012 Tara Farm Rescue Hunter Pace. also allows us to ride anywhere send an experienced horse and within our team—front, back, rider to complete the trail as fast or middle, as the situation dictates. cT. After evaluating fame, she was and as safely as possible, which sets so, if you’ve never considered a sure that hunter paces would be his the “pace time.” The goal of each team hunter pace because you thought that thing, and she was absolutely correct. is to match the pace time as closely as Tennessee Walkers (or any other gaited We placed third on that first outing, possible, without knowing what it is horse for that matter) were not well and I’ve been hooked on the discipline (the pace time is kept secret until the suited for it, I urge you to get out ever since. In two years of competing, end of the event). The team to come there and try it. It’s a fantastic way fame and I have entered 13 events closest to the pace time, whether over to spend the day with your horse and and ribboned in 12 of them, as well as or under, wins the competition. In order to expand your skills as a rider. your winning the overall 2012 championship to accommodate a variety of riding skill gaited horse will surprise you—and you for the spring/fall Tanheath hunt club levels, there are usually two or three may surprise yourself. hunter Pace series. It ends up that different classes available for entry, karen Anderson is a yankee many of the same qualities that make each with a different pace time. fame Walker club member and gaited horse Tennessee Walking horses such great and I compete in the “Jumpers” class, owner and enthusiast living in Pomfret family and trail mounts are the very where riders intend to jump every fence center, cT. on weekends in the spring ones needed to be a successful hunter and ride at the fastest pace. and fall, she and her horse, fame, pace competitor. I got my nine-year-old, 16 hand, can be found competing in hunter Walkers are most famous for their Tennessee Walker, fame, in August of paces across connecticut and smooth, four-beat, running-walk gait, 2010, and entered my first hunter pace Massachusetts and generally enjoying which in the world of hunter pacing, is with him a month later on the recomeach other’s company while gliding a godsend. fame’s ability to maintain mendation of my trainer, shannon along the trails. Jackson, of still Pond farm in hampton, his gait, at the speed of a trotting horse, March 2013

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