Interview with Walter D. Chism

Walter has bred Tennessee Walking Horses since 1965.  He has bred two World Grand Champions and three World Champions. Walter also has served as the President of the TWHBEA, the breed registry.

How many years have you been involved with TWH? 

I rode my first one in 1955, owned my first one in 1965 

What first drew you to the breed? 

The first one I rode was the smoothest  horse I had ever been on in my life.  All I felt was the forward movement. I was about 16 years old and riding 'gaited' unregistered horses.  A friend bought a 2 year old Tennessee Walking horse and invited me to ride him.  I rode him in the hall of an vacant mule barn, it was the smoothest horse I had ever ridden.  All I felt was the power
of the horse moving forward.  I knew right then, I had to own one.

What breeds or types of horses did you have prior  experience with? 

We had unregistered gaited horses......single foot horses 

What pitfalls did you find or mistakes did you make in  your early  years that you can advise people to avoid? 

I should have consulted more with really knowledgeable people.  I wasted a lot of money not buying the best horses. I really couldn't afford the 'best' but it would have been much cheaper.
That's assuming I would have recognized a 'top' horse.  I wish I had consulted experienced horsemen and breeders.  It would have 'cut' my effort and expense by half.

What was the BEST decision you made in your early  years?

 I made the decision to breed only to the best stallions and keep the best fillies for brood mares.  The old adage ...'Don't eat your seed corn' is never more accurate than in breeding horses. 

 What is your fondest memory of your TW horses?
Winning the first ribbon at the Celebration. The first Celebration I attended, we sat just about on the top row.  The horses were so impressive and the possibility of owning a horse like that was
an unattainable dream.  So the first time we had a horse to show, she got a reserve ribbon. We've won several since then and they are all exciting, but that was such a surprise and thrill and it was with my favorite horse. 

 Do you have a favorite TWH? If so, which one and why?

Pride's Top Doll.......The first real show horse we raised, she got us our first ribbon at the Celebration and became the 'head of the steam' in our breeding program.  Some horses just get to you and she did.  A mare with a big motor and bigger heart and her disposition was unequaled.   First really good horse for us.  Sweet disposition, willing attitude and a huge motor 

What do you feel is the "commitment," if any, that a  breeder  has to make to the breed or the public?

I think he has to make a commitment to himself first.  Breeding horses is a life time job, and what you do will survive you on this planet.  So it is important that you do it well and with the utmost care and effort. I feel that breeding is a life time commitment. It's not something to do casually. A breeder should do his 'homework' and study the results of his efforts with honesty. 

If there was only one reason you could give to people to own a TWH, what would it be?

 They are the most willing and gentle of horses.  They are well known for their 'smooth' gait and it is well justified. To feel the 'glide' ride is truly a thrill.