History of the Appaloosa
The Appaloosa horse is an ancient breed depicted in cave paintings as far back as prehistoric times. Spotted horses were bred in Spain and developed into a riding horse and later taken to Mexico in the 16th Century and later spread across North America. These spotted horses were captured by the Nez Perce Indians and were used to produce A Palouse horses which later evolved to be known as Appaloosas.
In 1938 the Appaloosa was officially recognised as a breed. It is now the official state horse of Idaho. The official breed registry is the Appaloosa Horse Club (ApHC) which was formed in 1938. The registry's stud book allows the addition of some Thoroughbred, Arabian and American Quarter Horse blood.
General Appearance and Characteristics of the Appaloosa
The most prominent feature of the Appaloosa Horse is their spotted coats. There are 6 main Appaloosa patterns, but each horse is unique. The patterns are:
- Leopard is a white horse with coloured spots
- Snowflake is coloured with white spots
- Spotted Blanket is mainly coloured with a white back or hindquarters on which there are coloured spots
- White Blanket has a light body with dark back or hindquarters
- Marble is coloured at birth but fades to almost white as the horse ages
- Frosted Tip is coloured with pale or white spots on the loins and hips.
Other identifiable characteristics of the Appaloosa breed are: white sclera around the eye; striped hooves; sparse, short mane and tail; and, mottled skin around the nostrils and genitalia.
The Appaloosa is available in a number of different colours including bay, black, chestnut, white and palomino.
The Appaloosa Horse has a wide range of body types due to different horse breeds influencing its development. They can weigh from 950 to 1,250 pounds and their ranges between 14.1 to 16 hh. The Appaloosa Horse is courageous and docile. The breed is also known for its versatility and endurance
Uses of the Appaloosa
The Appaloosa Horse is commonly used for ranch work, rodeos, trail riding and as a circus horse. It is also suitable for general riding with more making an appearance in english competition disciplines. They are also bred to compete in horse racing, generally being used for middle distance races. An appaloosa holds the record across all breed for the 4.5 furlongs distance.
They are also popular for use in Western movies and T.V series. The most famous ones include "Zip cochise" who was ridden by John Wayne in El Dorado (1966) and "Cowboy" who was the mount of Matt Damon in True Grit.