Vicki and I have always been interested in horses. Vicki got her
first horse at age 12, rode in pony clubs and participated in local shows,
winning many ribbons. I grew up in the USA and was introduced to riding
as a 10 year old, by my Sunday School teacher and enjoyed trail riding, on
and off, throughout my life. After coming to Australia in 1974, for
an 18 month working holiday (which is still going on!) I continued to
enjoy trail riding, often travelling to Merrijig to ride with the Lovicks.
Vicki and I discovered our mutual love for horses when we began
dating in the early 90's. We bought a 20 acre horse property in 1992
in the foothills of the lovely Dandenong Ranges in Melbourne and began
breeding horses, working with a couple different breeds.
have had back problems for many years which have become worse as I have aged. In 1996 I found myself sitting on a beautiful property with my
own horses but I was unable to enjoy a ride with my family and friends,
year Vicki and I were in the US and we met up with my old friend Bill
Weible, the Sunday School teacher who had taught me to ride! Bill
asked if I still rode and I explained I was unable to, due to my back
problems, he asked, "Have you ever ridden a Tennessee Walking Horse?"
I said No, and he said "Come on..." and we rode for an hour. I
enjoyed that hour and didn't experience the problems I did on the trotting
horses we had at home. We had another trip planned to the States in a few months time and organized to join
Bill and his wife, Dolly, with some of their friends for a week's trail
ride. Bill brought along a couple extra TWH's for Vicki and I. The smooth ride of these
willing horses was wonderful, but the sensible, gentle nature and
endurance of the Breed was also very visible. I asked Bill to purchase two
more for us.
common natural gaits for most horses are walk, trot, and canter. The Tennessee Walking Horse's
natural gaits are the Walk, Running
Walk, and Canter. Anyone who has ridden a horse, even just an
hour's trail ride, knows the Walk and Canter are comfortable for the
rider, but the Trot is either very uncomfortable or a lot of work (or
both...). Unfortunately you tend to spend most of your time on a horse,
Trotting, as a fit horse can do it all day and it is the only way to cover
a lot of ground on a horse. The TWH was originally bred by the large
plantation owners in the Deep South to allow them to cover their vast
properties, in relative comfort. Their intermediate gait, the Running
Walk, is a lateral action, like a pacer, but with broken timing, providing
four individual footfalls, rather than two like a trot or pace, removing
any moment of 'suspension' and thus the bone jarring impact of the horse
returning to earth.
the rider enjoys the ground covering speed of the Trot with the smooth,
comfort of the Running Walk.
were so impressed with the Walker that we asked Bill to select a couple
of mares for us and we would ship them home to Australia. We brought our first two
mares over in 1997. We brought these horses for our own personal
pleasure, but we brought mares, with an eye on breeding some
time in the future... In 1999, we were contacted by the TWH Breeders
and Exhibitors Association in Tennessee and asked if we would take our TWH
to Equitana in Melbourne, as the breed was shown at Equitana in the US and
Europe. They wanted to be represented in Australia, as we had the only two
horses in the country. We took our two girls out to the Melbourne
Exhibition buildings and impressed many people with their visibly smooth
ride. Vicki and my daughter, Lauren did a small
exhibition ride each day in one of the arenas and the contrast
of their comfortable action vs. all the other breeds was quite
visible as their hats 'glided' around the arena rather than 'bounced'.
March of 2000, we bought 3 more TWH mares and brought them to Australia.
Later in the year, we bought 3 more mares in foal, two stallions and an
entire weanling colt. We also
moved to a new 100 acre property in Emerald, Vic. and have commenced a local
breeding and training program to properly introduce the Breed to
Australia. We have completed a three stable foaling barn and a large
Training Barn complete with Indoor School, Vet Area, 30 Stables
and a Stallion Wing. We have also built two, two bedroom B&B's to
cater for local and International guests.
are convinced the Tennessee Walking Horse will be as well received in
Australia as in the USA, where, despite the stud book being closed
for 60 years, it has become one of the fastest growing breeds.
People have always loved horse riding and an increasing number will be
interested in experiencing the joy of the Australian Bush from the back of
a truly comfortable horse.