Shoeing the High-Stepping Tennessee Walking Horse

Team approach lauded by farriers, trainer in preparing horses for the upcoming show season

A Tennessee Walking Horses goes through its paces at Crane Farms in northern Alabama, wearing the front packages and displaying the animated high-stepping style distinctive of the breed.

Watching a Tennessee Walking Horse go through his paces can be confusing. The horse leans back into his haunches, driving off them powerfully, while his forelimbs stretch out ahead, churning the air and pin wheeling ahead of the rider. The horse’s head bobs up and down with the beat of the clumsy looking packages thumping the ground with a muffled clumping sound. A musical clinking of light chains fastened around the ankles may play in the background.

Atop this flurry of equine movement sits the rider — seemingly unaffected by the fury going on just below him. He moves with the horse, but with none of the exaggerated movements. His head and shoulders stay level. He could sip from a cup of hot coffee and never have to worry about burning himself.

Stan Trimble says this is the result of decades of breeding and training — all designed to produce a horse that Tennessee plantation owners could ride across their fields all day in comfort.

Shoeing these high-stepping, smooth striders is a complicated process — one that is best done through a team approach, Trimble says. Trimble with his shoeing partner, Ron Kramedjian and the assistance and direction of trainer Keith Nance demonstrated this teamwork during a recent day of “Shoeing For A Living.”

8:45 a.m. It’s a pleasant early spring morning…

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Pat tearney

Pat Tearney

Pat Tearney is a long-term newspaper and magazine veteran writer and editor. Before retiring, he served for a number of years on the American Farriers Journal staff and continues to share his writing talents with our readers.

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