The horse bred in the Central Basin and surrounding areas of Middle Tennessee was first and foremost a utility saddle horse. Blessed with a steady, dependable flat walk, a ground covering running walk, and a smooth comfortable canter, the horse was also intelligent, gentle, and willing to perform whatever chores were required. When drought and the arrival of mechanized farming destroyed the market for the usin’ horse in the fifties, many bloodlines were lost forever. Other bloodlines forged the foundation for today’s padded show walkers.

A few stalwart breeders retained the original vision with bloodstock that had been in their families for generations. These breeders insisted that the horses they rode and used regularly have smooth natural gaits. These horses had to be athletes with good bones and correct conformation to tackle the steep hills and rocky terrain of much of Middle Tennessee.  Of equal importance was the traditional gentle disposition. The horses were and remain ruggedly handsome, with the luxurious manes and naturally high tail carriages that were considered the hallmarks of a fine-bred horse in the formative years of the breed.

Today's Heritage Tennessee Walking Horse descends from bloodlines that have been in families for generations, bloodlines bred for gait and sense, not show ring primp and fire. A Heritage Walking Horse will trace back to horses with little or no breeding from padded sires and dams. The Heritage Walking Horse is an investment-quality horse!


When the International Heritage Walking Horse Association set out to define what its horses were for those requesting some criteria, the following were used as standards that make a Heritage Horse distinctly different from the TWH bred exclusively for the show ring:

1] Older, rare bloodlines have been nurtured and cherished for the qualities that they represent. All initially certified Heritage Horses had a minimum of five stallions or mares with registration numbers from the thirties and forties still showing on their pedigrees.

2] Modern show bloodlines bred for fire and steam have been eliminated. No Heritage Horses have animals on their pedigrees shown padded from 1977 forward (No padded show horses shown after 1976).

3] The signature smooth gait of the Tennessee Walking Horse has been sought out. Heritage Horses can perform a natural, evenly-timed four beat, nodding and walking gait, barefoot or plain shod. Plantation shoeing is not permitted if a horse seeks certification. Some Heritage Horses are multi-gaited and can also perform other four beat saddle gaits, like the rack, foxtrot, or saddle rack. Because they are not bred to pace or swing, a Heritage Horse learns the canter readily. Stallions or mares, no longer being used under saddle, show a natural walking ability at liberty or in hand.

4] Various colors and patterns are exhibited within the Heritage Horse ranks. All color lines trace, generation to generation, to horses of those colors and patterns registered in the original TWHBAA Studbooks.

5] Offspring of a pair of Heritage Horses are automatically designated as such once they exhibit a true, four beat, walking gait. (Foals from one Heritage parent and one from other bloodlines are referred to as Heritage Outcrosses. A few of the Heritage stallions and mares, due to the number of older lines in the third generation of their pedigrees, can sire or produce Heritage Horses from any bloodlines not discounted by #2 and #4 above.) Delight's Midnight Legend is one of these stallions!

The final step for getting the Heritage Horse certification for your horse is the video tape. On this video you show all four sides, pick up all four feet to show hooves, and a proper four beat walking gait with no pace. The gait must be evenly timed up, head nodding flat walk and running walk. This is the only "registry"/organization that looks at, or considers the gait of these horses. This video is your PROOF!  Yes, they are called Tennessee Walking Horses but do they/can they really do a running walk? The video is then submitted for review by the Heritage Founders review panel and they may or may not recommend certification. It is a long process but is certainly worth the time and effort to have your Tennessee Walking Horse recognized "by virtue of his pedigree and TRUE WALKING GAITS"!

Slush Creek Heritage horses have been tagged by color-coded stars for your convenience.
Certified by the Tennessee Walking Horse Heritage Society=Heritage-certified Eligible for Heritage Certification=eligible to be Heritage-certified. Foundation Heritage Horses born before 1950.=Foundtion Heritage Horses


Mark and Shellie Pacovsky
Bainville, MT
PH. 406-769-2971
Cell 406-769-7971
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Last Updated: February 26, 2017