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Though his roots date back thousands of years in Asia and Europe, the modern APPALOOSA is a true American breed, developed and perfected by the Native Americans during the growth of the United States. With his unique coat and natural athleticism, he truly is a majestic horse, indeed.

Appaloosa Horse The APPALOOSA'S ancestry is ancient and cherished indeed, treasured by many civilizations over thousands of years. The earliest depictions of spotted horses date back to ancient times, with cave drawings found in France dating back to 18,000 B.C. Later, the Bronze Age brought the use of the horse drawn chariot, and equines of superior size, strength, speed and intellect were developed, namely in the Ferghana Valley, which is present day Uzbekistan. Around 100 B.C. Chinese Emperor Wu Ti sent officials to the Ferghana Valley to obtain these much revered horses which they called the Heavenly Horse, or the Celestial Horse, and since that time depictions of spotted horses are quite prevelant in Chinese artwork. Persians claim the ancestor of all spotted horses to be Rakush, the spotted warhorse of the hero Rustam who lived approximately 400 B.C. Evidence of spotted horses is abundant in much European artwork and writings as well, from the early Greeks in 1300 B.C. to the first accounts of these beautiful horses in the 1200's in England. Folklore from Denmark, Austria and France also speak of the leopard print equines, and seemed to have been reserved for royalty and people of influence.

Appaloosa Horse
The modern APPALOOSA is definitively an American breed. Spotted horses were brought to the Americas by the Spanish in the 1600's and gained favor with the native Americans. In 1680 the Pueblo Indian slaves revolted against the Spanish and drove them from northern New Mexico. The Pueblos kept the sheep and cattle, but traded the horses to the Plains Tribes. Through trade and theft, the horse herds worked their way west and eventually found a home with the Shoshones from southern Idaho, the most important distributors of horses in the region. Their land was lush and fertile and the horses thrived in the rich lands. Eventually the horses were passed on to the Nez Perce peoples, who made their home in Eastern Oregon, Washington and Idaho. It is with them the horse we know and love today was developed. The lands of the Nez Perce was even better suited to raising horses than that of the Shoshones; the terrain and geography offered protection from thefts from rival tribes and their herds flourished into the thousands. The Nez Perce were the first to practice selective breeding with the spotted horses, gelding the inferior stallions and trading off the poorer stock to neighboring tribes or settlers. The horses of the Nez Perce quickly became the superior horse in the regions and the equine to have. A skilled horseman, Meriwether Lewis, wrote in his journals of the Nez Perce horses, "Their horses appear to be of an excellent race; they are elegantly formed, active and durable; in short many of them look like fine English coarsers and would make a figure in any country." His partner, William Clark commented on the APPALOOSA'S coloring and markings in his own journal, "... some of these horses are pided with large spots of white irregularly scattered and intermixed with the black brown bey or some other dark colour", and also, "much the larger portion are of a uniform colour". The horses were referred to as the PALOUSE HORSE and it is believed that references to "a Palouse" became the name APPALOOSA we know today.

Appaloosa Horse The APPALOOSA is best known for his leopard complex coat, which is caused by a mutation. His spotting occurs in various overlay patterns on one of several recognized base coat colors which include bay, black, chestnut, palomino, buckskin, cremello or perlino, roan, gray, dun and grulla. His spotted coat makes him most recognizable as an APPALOOSA, but he can have a solid coat color as well. Although not unique to the breed, he may commonly have striped hooves, but the presence of a white sclera around the iris when the eye is in a normal position is uniquely his. The APPALOOSA possesses several different body styles. The original horse was a tall, narrow bodied horse, probably inherited from the traditional Spanish horses which were common in the plains region of America before the 1700's. Over the years with introduction of warmblood lines, his body style evolved, and after the defeat of the Nez Perce in the Nez Perce War, the introduction of the draft horse was added to the geneaology, and the horses became larger and bulkier as U.S. Government policy forced the Indians to become farmers and provided them with draft horse mares to breed to existing stallions. Todays Appaloosa has AMERICAN QUARTER HORSE and ARABIAN bloodlines, and has again become a more athletic and agile equine, reminiscent of his early breeding. The THOROUGHBRED was introduce in the 1970's to produce a horse suitable for the racing circuit. His mane and tail is typically sparce, common to the breed, but recent efforts by breeders, are starting to eliminate the trait in more modern APPALOOSAS. He typically stands 14 to 16 hands and can weigh up to 1250 pounds. He is generally an easy-going horse, with an even temperament, although he can have a reputation of being somewhat stubborn. He was bred for hardiness and intelligence and with these traits he makes an excellent trail horse. He is an athletic and agile equine and also excels at a wide variety of other disciplines including English riding, and western competitions such as roping, cutting and reining. He also does quite well in endurance trials, and English disciplines such as eventing, show jumping, and fox hunting, and also is a favorite partner for barrel racing and pole bending.

A true American bred horse, he has earned his reputation in history as an esteemed mount for the Native Americans and then the settlers, and has remained in favor throughout the years. He is a willing and able equine, excelling in a variety of diciplines and tasks. A true athlete and an exciting competitor, he is a versatile horse indeed, and he is an excellent choice for all, from an aspiring rider to the advanced equestrian.
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"Wherever man has left his footprint in the long ascent from barbarism
to civilization we will find the hoofprint of the horse beside it." --John Moore

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