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January 9, 2015

Now, That's a Walking Horse!

The HSUS grant and recognition program rewards humane owners and riders of Tennessee walking horses.

  • Registered walking horse Miss Anny competed as an endurance horse before beginning her career as a therapy horse with Sandra Tuthill, winner of a 2013 grant. Sandra Tuthill

  • 2013 grant winner Teresa Bippen funded two clinics on "getting a horse to gait through proper development of the horse’s footfall, the back, and the use of rhythm and relaxation" rather than cruel methods. Teresa Bippen

  • The seminars made possible by Diane Little's 2013 grant were sponsored by Friends of Sound Horses, which she says "deals with the whole horse—emotionally, mentally, and physically." Diane Little

  • The program is open to all flat-shod, registered Tennessee walking horses being used in ways other than traditional show-ring rail classes. Dianne Little/For The HSUS

"Now, That's a Walking Horse!" is designed to encourage opportunities for the use, care, and training of Tennessee walking horses apart from the traditional show ring.

The program is open to all flat-shod, registered Tennessee walking horses being used in ways other than traditional show-ring rail classes.

Recognition Awards

Recognition awards are for amateur owners and riders using Tennessee walking horses in new/non-traditional ways and multi-breed environments.
Learn how to apply


The grants are designed to encourage and support therapeutic and natural horsemanship programs and clinics.
Learn how to apply

Tell your federal legislators to protect walking horses by supporting the PAST Act today! »

2014 winners

The 2014 Recognition Award recipients

April Smith of River Run Ranch in Elkland, Penn., will use the grant to attend the 2015 World Horse Expo where she will provide education to attendees about farrier techniques to return the walking horse to their natural gait through non-intrusive shoeing and foot care.

Cara Williams and her son Marcus Pikur of Westland, Mich. received an award to enable Marcus to continue his therapeutic riding lessons on Tennessee walking horse Final’s Olympic Tribute with Marsha Coffey at Coffey Grounds Farm. Final’s Olympic Tribute has proven once again the versatility and gentle demeanor of the Tennessee walking horse and has allowed Marcus to not only grow his skills as a rider, but also improve his mental and emotional growth through this unique bond. Six-year old Marcus is Now, That’s a Walking Horse’s! youngest award recipient.

Christine Boucher-Reynolds participated in the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association World Versatility Show with her horse Enchanters M.G. The Now, That’s a Walking Horse! award will allow to her continue advancing the versatility and prowess of her walking horse and promote the walking horse as an all-around pleasure horse.

Denise Parsons of Boyds, Md., a rider and owner of multiple Tennessee walking horses, continued her tremendous work as an ambassador for the Tennessee walking horse breed at numerous public events. The Now, That’s a Walking Horse! grant allowed her to pursue further education and instruction with her Tennessee walkers and promote the versatility of the breed at future events.

Leslie Starkey and Ashley Royer of Farmington, Mo., used their award to compete in the Open Super Horse Competition at the St. Louis Equifest with Tennessee walking horse Peach Muffin. The pair represented this versatile breed and promoted the merits of the naturally gaited and humanely trained Tennessee walking horse.

Robynne Catheron of Oxford, N.Y. received an award to attend the “Ride for Their Lives” anti-soring horseback ride. This 1200-mile ride enabled Robynne to discuss current topics in the Tennessee walking horse community with local residents in the towns through which they rode and display the natural sportsmanship of the walking horse.

The 2014 Grant recipients

Friends of Sound Horses (FOSH) will put the grant money toward attendance at three equine expos in 2015: the Maryland Horse Expo, the Pennsylvania Horse Expo and the Midwest Horse Expo in Wisconsin. While at the events, FOSH members will promote the walking horse breed and educate walking horse owners and the general public about the need for humane treatment and training of gaited horses.

FOSH also received Now, That’s A Walking Horse! grant money to continue its mission as a non-profit equine advocacy group dedicated to ending abusive training of gaited horses. With the funds, FOSH will produce the FOSH Gaited Journey Anatomy in Motion clinic with clinicians Susan Harris and Peggy Brown.

The GaitWay Horse Association, Inc. in Peculiar, Mo., received a grant which enabled the organization to participate in a clinic held by Diane Sept, certified natural balance instructor, gaited horse judge and trainer of Tennessee walking horses. Through Sept’s clinic “Dressage is for Everyone,” GaitWay Horse Association was able to showcase humanely trained walking horses and introduce the natural horse to the pleasure riders of America. GaitWay Horse Association also received a grant which assisted the organization in promoting humane training and demonstrate the versatility of the walking horse during its GaitWay Summer Hot Flash series of events. 

Happy Trails Riding Center located in New Market, Ala., are using the grant to provide assistance to their certified instructor, who works with several disabled clients using Tennessee walker Ace’s Gold Dancer as a therapy horse. These individuals experience the bond between horse and rider while learning to appreciate the natural abilities of a gaited horse.

Healing with Horses Ranch recently received two donated walking horses for its therapy program in Manor, Texas, and will use the grant to promote walking horses as therapy animals. The two newest additions have proven to be beneficial to their clients and hopefully will encourage others to add walking horses to their programs.

Jennifer Wallace from BelleMar Farm in Whitakers, N.C. participated in three clinics by riding instructor Susan Anderson . These clinics educated walking horse owners and riders interested in broadening their understanding of training and the potential use for this special breed.

Marion Wheaton of Kamas, Utah furthered her dressage education with her Tennessee Walker, Black Gold’s Gracye, by using the grant to participate in non-traditional walking horse events, which showcase the versatility and natural gait of this breed. Also the recipient of a hybrid award/grant, Wheaton will use funds in 2015 to organize a clinic based on FOSH’s IJA Manual for Gaited Dressage. This clinic will educate gaited horse owners on best practices in riding and training gaited horses to develop gymnastic abilities, willing obedience and balance that allow the horse to perform his natural gaits without resorting to severe bitting, heavy shoes, and other quick fix practices.

The Mounted Patrol Unit of the Houston, Texas police force used the grant to participate in a clinic held by Deb Davies and Jillian Kreinbring, recognized equine biomechanics specialists, clinicians and authors. This clinic enabled them to pursue the goals of humane training, education, enjoyment and promotion of the Tennessee walking horse used in police work.

The Parelli Education Institute, Inc. received a grant that was used to provide a pilot series on gaited horse education for Parelli Natural Horsemanship instructors. This course included riders of walking horses, as well as auditors with a special interest in developing the natural abilities of the Tennessee walking horse in order to bring out the best in their gaited horses with this method of natural horsemanship.

The Pennsylvania Pleasure Walking Horse Association used the grant money to attend the Horse World Expo in Harrisburg, Penn., in order to pursue the goals of humane training, education, enjoyment and promotion of the Tennessee walking horse.

Plantation Walking Horses of Maryland received a grant to defray the costs of attending a clinic given by Joe London, gaited horse clinician and trainer of Tennessee walking horses, in order to promote the walking horse breed and to increase the level of horsemanship amongst walking horse owners in the Monkton, Md. area.

Rhythm of the Rein Therapeutic Riding Program located in Marshfield, Vt., used the grant to sponsor the work of four Tennessee walking horses involved in the organization’s Equine Services for Veterans Program. Mayden Voyage, Painted Snow Star, Tango’s Topper and Major’s Dos Mayos offer their labor and comfortable gait to scholarship recipients for this therapeutic riding program that serves veterans at no cost.

Therapeutic Riding of Tyron (TROT) used the grant to modify the Foothills Equestrian Nature Center (FENCE) to meet the Professional Association of Therapeutic  Horsemanship’s certification requirement. FENCE is home to Loving’s TROT program. As part of her program, senior horse Allendorf Fireball displays many of the wonderful qualities of the Tennessee walking horse while making a difference in people’s lives through the experience of therapeutic riding.

The Walking Horse Owners Association (WHOA), located in Murfreesboro, Tenn., received a grant in order to host a clinic presented by Gary Lane, an author and instructor specializing in the training of gaited horses, during their annual International show. This clinic enabled gaited horse owners to be educated further on humane training, enjoyment and promotion of the Tennessee walking horse and the breed’s vast versatility.


How to apply for an award or grant

Download and fill out the 2015 "Now, That's a Walking Horse!" application [PDF]. Once you've thoroughly and legibly completed all of the application's pages, mail it to the following address:

ATTN: Walking Horse Grant and Recognition Program
700 Professional Drive
Gaithersburg, MD 20879

Applications must be postmarked by November 1, 2015, to be considered for the 2015 program.

Download the application [PDF] »

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