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Appaloosa Horse

General Horse Articles - Appaloosas
Some facts about these beautiful, spotted horses.

1. Spotted horses have been around for more than 20,000 years! Archeologists have discovered drawings on cave walls and rocks in France of spotted horses dating back thousands of years.

2. Did you know that you can actually feel the spots on an Appaloosa? Go ahead. Try touching the spots. They will feel different than the rest of the Appaloosa's coat.

3. Besides their colorful coats, Appaloosas have three other distinctive characteristics: mottled skin, which means speckled or blotchy skin, around the muzzle, eye and sheath areas; white sclera, a white area around the eyeball; and striped hooves.

4. There are five Appaloosa coat patterns:

  • Blanket: a white blanket over a horse's loins and hips with dark spots.
  • Leopard: white with dark spots all over.
  • Marble: red or blue roan with dark coloring on the edges on the body and frost in the middle.
  • Snowflake: lots of spotting over the horse's hips.
  • Frost: white specks on a dark background.

    5. Many Appaloosas start out as solid-colored foals, but develop spots as they get older.

    6. The Appaloosa breed was developed by the Nez Perce Indians in the 18th century. The Nez Perce lived in Oregon, and they were talented horsemen. These American Indians rounded up horses of Spanish stock, horses that had come to America with European explorers, and began breeding them with native ponies. They were very selective about which horses they bred, and only the best of each breed was used.

    7. Although the Nez Perce never named their spotted breed, the American and French settlers began describing them as "a Palouse horse" because the horses were plentiful in the Palouse region of Washington and Idaho. After a while folks started calling them Appalousey, and finally the name was shortened to Appaloosa.

    8. In 1806, the famous American explorer Merriweather Lewis came across a herd of Appaloosas and noted in his diary, "Their horses seem to be of an active race; they are lofty, elegantly formed, active and durable. Some of those horses are have large spots of white irregularly scattered and intermixed with black, brown, bay or some other dark color."

    9. When white settlers invaded the west, the Nez Perce were not happy about it, and fought against the U.S. Calvary for several months. When they were forced to surrender, the American Indians had to hand over their Appaloosas. The Calvary soon disbanded the herd. Some were set free — others were given to settlers. The breed almost died out at this point.

    10. The Appaloosa Horse Club was formed in Moscow, Idaho, in 1938. It is still located there today: The Appaloosa Horse Club, 2720 W.Pullman Rd, Moscow, ID 83843; (208) 882-5578;;

    11. More than 500,000 Appaloosas are registered with the breed association, and nearly 11,000 new horses are registered annually.

    12. There are approximately 800 ApHC-approved regional shows each year. Check out the ApHC Web site to see if there is a show near you. Even if you don't own an Appie, it's fun to go watch a breed show.

    13. If you are a kid, and you love Appaloosas, you can become a member of the Appaloosa Youth Association. You don't have to own an Appaloosa — any horsey kid can join. The AYA has lots of fun programs foryou to join. There are educational scholarships to apply for, art and essay contests to enter, and achievement awards to win.

    14. If you like trail riding and you ride an Appaloosa, you could join the Appaloosa Saddle Log Program. Every hour you spend in the saddle is logged, and cool patches and awards are given for completion of 100, 200, 500, 1000, 1500 and 2500 hours of riding. You'll be collecting lots of patches if you ride a lot! Check out the ApHC Web site to get more info:

    15. There are 135 regional Appaloosa clubs in the U.S.A. Maybe there's one near you? Check the Web site to find out, or call (208) 882-5578, ext. 282. Regional clubs do lots of fun activities, including going on trail rides, holding shows and riding in parades.

    16. There are Appaloosa racehorses. There are more than 400 Appie races across the country and more than $2,000,000 in prize purses. Check out the Web site for more racing information.

    17. The ApHC holds four one-week trail rides, complete with entertainment and catering. The Chief Joseph Commemorative Trail Ride follows the Nez Perce's historic route through Oregon, Idaho and Montana. The Apache Land takes place in Arizona and New Mexico in the spring. The Rocky Mountain Trail Ride travels through Colorado high country at the end of the summer. And finally, the Sheltowee Ride is held in Kentucky during the fall. Want to go on one of these rides? Contact the ApHC for more information.

    18. There's an Appaloosa Museum located at the ApHC headquarters in Moscow, ID. Learn the history of the Appaloosa, and check out art and artifacts about this beautiful breed.

    19. An Appaloosa should have the appearance of a well-bred Quarter Horse-compact and with strong limbs.

    20. Did you know that the Pony of the Americas is a cross between the Appaloosa and the Shetland?



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