A History Of Registering Walkers in Canada

The Tennessee Walking Horse has interested Canadians from the beginning of the breed. The first registry for Walking Horses began in 1935 in the United States, when a group of breeders met in Tennessee to form the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ Association of America (TWHBAA). Shortly after that Mr. Burt Hunter compiled the first studbook with 61 Foundation horses listed. That first studbook recorded the very first Tennessee Walking Horses ever registered, from numbers 350001 to 380231.  #350011 was MABEL, born in 1931 and registered the property of W.J. Stevenson, London, Ontario, Canada.And MABEL, the eleventh TWH to be registered, was only the first of many Canadian owned, U.S. registered Walkers. Soon, however, Canadians began to register their Walkers in the stud book of their own country.Although there was no Tennessee Walking Horse Association per se until the eighties, TWH were eligible for registration in the General Stud and Herd Book of the Canadian National Live Stock Records (CNLSR). The General Stud and Herd Book was available to register animals that had no association for their promotion in Canada, but which were nevertheless of established foreign breeds recognized by Agriculture Canada. The horse’s original TWHBAA certificate of registration had to be sent in to CNLSR, showing its complete pedigree and also that the ownership of the horse had been legally transferred to the person applying for the Canadian certificate of registration. Cost of registration through the forties, fifties and sixties was $2.00.In 1941 the Gilchrist Brothers of Manyberries, Alberta imported the TWH stallion, CHIEF JUSTICE ALLEN #390667, registered the property of Harlinsdale Farm, Franklin, Tennessee and bred by Exine W. Webb of Nashville, Tennessee. This handsome 1939 born chestnut was out of a Slippery Allen dam by No Limit Allen. He was the first Walker registered in Canada and he was entered as TWH #1 in the General Stud and Herd Book of the Canadian Live Stock Records.The second TWH to be registered in Canada was GRANNY EVINS 420273 (Rex Donnell Jr. out of Fanny Allen T.). She was listed as a roan with mixed mane & tail born in Lancaster, Tennessee in 1929. She was Canadian registered in 1950 by George Edworthy of Calgary, Alberta. Granny Evins had been bred to Chief Justice Allen and had raised two fillies, in 1948 and 1949. The two fillies were registered as #3 and #4 in the Canadian TWH studbook. They were also registered with TWHBAA, thus becoming the first of many Canadian born Walkers to be double registered in Canada and the U.S.

A few Tennessee Walkers were imported during the next three decades but not in great numbers. There were also some being bred and registered in Canada. But by 1970 there were only 70 TWH registered in the Canadian Stud Book. Without doubt there were many more Walkers here but there is no record of them since their owners did not register them in Canada.

In 1970 the fee to register a Walker in Canada shot up to $3.00! Interest seemed to be picking up, for there were 32 TWH registered in Canada during that decade. Also the fees went up again, to ten dollars to register a Canadian born TWH and $25 to register one newly imported from the U.S. and to record its pedigree and ownership. I recall that at that time you could get the duty and import fees back if you registered the mare or stallion in Canada as breeding stock, so that may have been another incentive to register the horse in the studbook of its new country.

The seventies were especially important in this story because it was in 1974 that Helen Williamson of Calgary, Alberta purchased her first Tennessee Walking Horses: Arcadia H. and Miss Boots A Walking.

Helen, along with Hilton & Claudia Hack and several other Calgary area TWH owners soon saw the need for a Canadian association to promote the breed and help direct its growth in this country. They could see that the emphasis on the big lick show horse in Tennessee at that time was not suitable for promoting the breed in Canada where a versatile, plain shod pleasure horse was the type in demand. They started the process and did the work that resulted in the incorporation of the CANADIAN WALKING HORSE ASSOCIATION (CWHA). The first CWHA constitution was approved in November, 1982 under the Livestock Pedigree Act. Helen Williamson became the first president of the new association.

The first certificate of registration issued by the Canadian National Live Stock Records with the new CWHA constitution in place was for WALTZTIME’S CLASSY SOCKS #127 (Prairie Breeze x Chapman’s Waltztime), a sorrel stallion owned by Jack O. Chapman of Stettler, Alberta. The horses previously registered under the General Stud and Herd Book were entitled to apply for the new certificates, but few of their owners bothered, since only the form had changed. The Canadian National Live Stock Records still handled all records and issued all registration certificates.

With an association to promote its growth, the breed has grown substantially.  The number of horses registered in the Canadian Registry grew from 127 in 1983 to 1000 in 1992. Now, another decade and a turn of the century later,  the Canadian Registry is over 3000. There have been several revisions of the constitution over the years.

The world standard for the number of DNA markers for horses was established in late 1999.DNA identification ( blood typing, as both were recognized) for breeding stock began January 1,, culminating in parentage verification for all foals registered in 2002 and subsequently.

In the 20 years between CWHA’s founding and the present, the Canadian National Live Stock Records has a new name – Canadian Livestock Records Corporation (CLRC). Also, some Canadian owners of Tennessee Walking Horses felt that the name CANADIAN WALKING HORSE ASSOCIATION was not suitably respectful of the breed’s origins, and requested that the name of the association be changed. After much debate, the association’s name was changed to THE CANADIAN REGISTRY OF THE TENNESSEE WALKING HORSE, which is the name it carries to this day.