In Europe and Great Britain during the middle ages, two types of horses were developed. The trotting breeds were designed for heavy work, battle, and carriage pulling. A lighter, smaller horse became popular as a general riding horse and travelling horse; this was the palfrey, a horse that was described in history books as having a smooth steady pace for its primary gait. Originally the preferred mount for royalty and nobility, it became less common as roads developed and carriages became the primary mode of transportation. Eventually the palfrey might have completely disappeared in the modern developed countries; however, it found a new niche with the discovery of America. Among the horses imported to America were descendants of the palfrey, and they quickly became popular in the New World as a horse that was smooth, surefooted, and sensible. These first gaited horses began to be intentionally bred again, with focus on both smoothness and on ‘pace’, which history books describe in the same way that we describe our modern singlefoot rack. It’s a common misconception that gaited horses come from horses that pace; the Narragansett Pacer was actually a racking horse, by description, and did not perform a modern day pace. As religious rule became limited in the New World, areas in Rhode Island and other territories began to race the surefooted Narragansett pacers, bringing them into even more popularity. With the invasion of England during the revolutionary war, and the expansion of Americans into the westerly states of Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and Missouri, the beloved Narragansett horses became traveling companions for settlers and made their way west over the Appalachians and north into Canada. In Canada the Canadian Pacer became popular, and in Tennessee a smooth, surefooted saddle horse became the mount of choice for those working plantations and farms, traveling to and from towns, and riding into the mountains and hills of Tennessee. As time passed and roads once again began to improve, trotting horses began to make their way into Tennessee, threatening the purity of the popular saddle horse. Outcrossing often eliminated the gait of the Tennessee horse. Breeders in Tennessee began to see a decrease in interest in racing the racking horse as harness racing became more popular. The Tennessee Pacer became more valuable as a using horse at that time, and breeders began to breed for an elongated, powerful stride that would cover more ground without expending more energy or losing surefootedness. This established the beginning of the running walk and the foundation of the Tennessee Walking Horse. Outcrossing became a concern again in the early 1900’s, resulting in the decision by a group of walking horse enthusiasts to create a breed registry to protect and document the bloodlines of the Tennessee Walking Horse. In 1935 breeders established the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ Association. In 1974 the name was changed to the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association. Since that time, the breed has evolved from an isolated breed in one state to an immensely popular breed worldwide. The Walking Horse of today is valued for its intelligence, trainability, surefootedness, stamina, and smooth gaits.