candid shots from the 2018 Tarheel Plantation Classic
What is a Pleasure Walking Horse?
The Plantation Pleasure Walking Horse is a relatively recent name for a type of horse that has been used commonly in the Southeastern United States since the late 1800s. The breed combines the bloodlines of the Thoroughbred, Standardbred, Morgan, and American Saddlebred. It was originally developed as a farm animal and became an integral part of daily life in the rural South.
The Walker’s most important distinction from other breeds is its four-beat gait–with the head nodding and the rear legs striding. This fluid motion enables it to perform the Running Walk. During the Flat Walk or Running Walk, the rider remains seated while the horse covers considerable ground in a smooth, bounce-free manner.
The term “Plantation” is used to denote those horses which are flat-shod and move like their ancestors did across the fields and roads of the Old South. Plantation Pleasure Walking Horses are noted for their hardiness and calm, accepting disposition.
Plantation Pleasure Walking Horses are no longer found only in the South, but are found everywhere that a smooth, steady gait and an easy disposition can be appreciated. The popularity of the old-style, natural moving Walker is growing almost as fast and smoothly as a good Walker covers ground.
Judge Thomas Gossard, Hagerstown, MD