We are a small family owned breeding farm. Our goal is to preserve the old and rare heritage bloodlines from Tennessee, and to preserve the signature gait this breed was known for in a usable horse of sound mind and body.
The original Tennessee Walking Horse was developed in the middle Tennessee region. These horses were used as utility animals, plowing on Saturday, pulling the family buggy to church on Sunday, and gentle enough for Grandma to ride to town on Monday for groceries. They were what the people of the region called usin' horses. With the invention of the tractor, the market was lost for these horses as farm animals. The remaining avenue for marketing was the show ring.
The breeding standards changed in the 1950's because of the show ring. Black, pacey horses became the key to success in the yearling sales that surrounded middle Tennessee in the fall. The Walker that could perform a natural nodding walk and had a calm disposition and people loving attitude almost became extinct as the padded show ring performer basked in the limelight of the public's eye.
Thankfully, there were a few breeders in Tennessee who refused to succumb to the pressure to eliminate the natural Walking Horse. These few breeders clung to the original vision and stood stallions and mares from bloodlines which had been in their families for generations, some which even predated the creation of the Walking Horse registry. As people have begun to appreciate and expect the Walking Horse to possess a natural lick, the horse world is opening their eyes and gaining an appreciation for these old bloodline Walking Horses. These are the horses with common sense and an eagerness to please.
Northern Foundations Farm has carefully selected mares and stallions with excellent dispositions that anyone in the family can ride. Our horses have conformation for show, soundness, and a classy look.
One of the trends we've noticed in our area over the years is the number of ex-padded show horses that are being brought to the area and sold as "good trail horses". This is disturbing to me because of a conversation I had with a long time breeder of old bloodline Walking Horses from Watertown, Tennessee. He told me many of these show horses that don't "make it on stacks" get about 30 minutes a day of riding time while they are in training. Once a trainer realizes the horse doesn't make it on stacks, the shoes are pulled and they are sold to dealers who often resell these horses to an unsuspecting customer. Once the shoes are pulled, the soring ended, these horses have a lot more energy. This extra energy combined with lack of proper training, such as turning, stopping, backing up, is a formula for disaster. I personally have heard of several people who were almost killed by this type of horse.
There is definitely something to be said for buying a young horse that has no baggage and working with it yourself to develop the horse into the kind of animal you want - a safe one!
Our foals are handled on a daily basis and get lots of attention and TLC. Consider purchasing a foal of heritage bloodlines and raise it to be the horse you REALLY want.