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Appaloosa


Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
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Appaloosa Horse Breed Profile: An Appaloosa Horse with the Leopard coat pattern
With a history that is as interesting and varied as his markings, the Appaloosa is one of North America's favorite horse breeds. The Appaloosa, with his spots and splashes, is certainly one of the flashiest. Although many people confuse the Appaloosa with a Paint horse, they are totally different breeds. The Appaloosa was bred for his heartiness and stamina and now is found in nearly every horse-riding discipline.

Interesting Facts:
History & Origins: Appaloosa Horse Breed Profile: A roan Appaloosa Horse with a blanket with spots pattern Spotted horses are found in ancient art and literature worldwide. Appaloosas in North America were recognized as spotted horses in the herds of the 18th century Nez Perce, natives of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. The Nez Perce were well known for their horses, who were bred to have superior size, speed, strength, and intelligence. These horses served them well, allowing them to change their lifestyle so they could become valuable traders. The Nez Perce lived near the confluence of the Palouse River and the Snake River in the Northwest. The spotted horses were well known as the "Palouse" horses, which linguistically evolved into "a Palouse horse" and finally Appaloosa horse. This breed nearly disappeared in the 19th century as the U.S. Government moved the Nez Perce on to reservations and destroyed their horses. The breed was revived in the late 1930's by a group of Appaloosa enthusiasts in Moscow, Idaho who created a registry for these horses. That group became what is now known as the Appaloosa Horse Club, and is the third largest registry for Appaloosa horses in the world.

The Appaloosa has been the state horse of Idaho since 1975.

Size: The average Appaloosa stands between 14.2 and 15.2 hands (56" to 62") high and weighs between 1,000 and 1,200 lbs.
Color & Markings: The Appaloosa Horse Club recognizes the following colors for an Appaloosa's base coat: Bay, Dark Bay or Brown, Black, Buckskin, Dun, Grulla, Cremello/Perlino, Chestnut, Palomino, Grey, Bay Roan, Blue Roan, and Red Roan.
Physical Appearance: The Appaloosa's body is compact with a broad head. His back is straight, his shoulders sloping, and his legs strong. The mane and tail of this breed are usually sparse.
Temperament: Generally very gentle, intelligent, and trustworthy. This horse has been bred for generations to exhibit great strength and stamina. The Appaloosa is normally a horse that is willing to please, making him an excellent choice for a novice rider.

The Appaloosa is a versatile breed, and these horses can be found in disciplines from racing to working cattle. There are also dressage Appaloosas, jumping Appaloosas and Appaloosas that are family horses.

Unique Characteristics: According to the Appaloosa Horse Club, Appaloosas can be identified by 4 main characteristics:
  1. Visible sclera (the white around the eye)
  2. Mottled or speckled/blotchy pattern of darkly pigmented and non-pigmented (pink) skin
  3. Striped hooves
  4. And of course, amazing body patterns, which include
    • Solid white over the hip area, called a blanket. There is also blanket with spots in which spots inside the blanket are usually the same color as the horse's base coat
    • White patterning all over the body with the horse's base color as spots covering most of the body, called leopard
    • A roan Appaloosa will have a lighter colored area on certain portions of his head and over his back and hips. An Appaloosa can have a roan blanket pattern and a roan blanket with spots pattern.
    • And believe it or not, there are solid color Appaloosas. These horses must exhibit mottled skin and one of the other unique Appaloosa characteristics
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