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In a way, this story begins in 1886 during the Civil War when a little black colt was born. He was born into trotting royalty, his mother from a famous line of Morgan Horses and his sire from the Hamiltonian line of trotters. Racing trotters were in demand and much was expected from the little black colt. Allan, however, refused to trot, preferring to pace. Allan lived his life in ignominy until he was seventeen years old and proved himself to be a prepotent sire of smooth-gaited horses when mated to the tennessee Pacer. Thus old Allan became the foundation sire of Tennessee Walking Horses. Through this heritage, Allan would make a vital and significant contribution to Rose Miller's life.
There are very few true stories about the Tennessee Walking of yesterday and today. A notable exception is Echoes of Hoofbeats by Bob Womack. Rose Miller has used his knowledge of the old time Walkers in her book, but the present day accounts are all hers. For thirty plus years, the author has ridden, raised, trained, shown, judged and most importantly, loved this unique breed of horse. She wrote The Horse That Wouldn't Trot predominately to entertain, but also to expose some ugly truths of how throughout this breed's history, some men have cruelly treated this gentle and willing horse in the name of training. Rose's horse tale begins when as a child, she told her parents that they should move to the country and raise horses. Eventually, Miller got her first horse, but this story really takes off after Rose and her family survived an Indiana tornado. Losing their little dream farm led to another bigger and better farm and in 1973, Miller was able to follow her childhood desire of raising horses--Tennessee Walking Horses, an easy-gaited horse that did not trot--but the endeavor wasn't easy. Rose's stallions were as diverse in attitude as color. Xanadu was almost too lackadaisical in his duties, but grey mares got him energized. Delight might just try to breed the tractor if it were in the breeding area, Galahad dug holes under two fences to get to the mare of his desire, but Praise Hallelujah, the horse love of Rose's life, was nearly perfect. Xanadu and Praise Hallelujah defined her Walking Horse history. Xanadu was shown to a top national honor: The TWHBEA Supreme Versatility Championship. Many points in different categories including show jumping were accumulated for this prestigious honor. Xanadu had once jumped a high pasture fence, but learning to jump in the show ring was an entirely different story. The second part of Miller's horse life was dominated by Praise Hallelujah, a naturally-talented, marvelously gaited individual who competed successfully again horses trained by soring, the inhumane method of getting the Tennessee Walking Horses to step high using caustic chemicals on the horses' front ankles. Miller was introduced to a brilliant dressage instructor who aided her and Praise Hallelujah in reaching their lofty goal of getting the blue ribbons in tough competition. This stallion proved himself a sire of naturally-gaited horses, both for trail riding and showing. Because of the use of soring for show horses, the genetic pool had been diluted away from horses that could actually do the smooth gait. This book is not only about Rose's horses, but about the soring issue as she herself saw it as she competed in the show ring. This issue persists but hopefully continued public outrage will succeed. Presently hard working people are trying to get the PAST ACT passed in Congress for the President to sign. This will hopefully finally put an end to soring. You can contact your congress people and ask them to support it