The AraAppaloosa is a cross between the Arabian horse and the Appaloosa that combines the refined physical characteristics of the Arabian with the leopard-spotted coloring of the Appaloosa. Since both breeds have been noted for endurance and intelligence, the resulting cross tends to excel at endurance riding as well as a variety of horse show disciplines, including ranch work, which has been performed by either breed. It is also known as the Araloosa and can also be found under the variant spellings of Arappaloosa and the Ara-Appaloosa. But the AraAppaloosa is not a new type of horse, but rather it is a breed that dates back centuries. However, it is a relatively new horse registry in the United States where the breed is represented by the AraAppaloosa and Foundation Breeder's International (AAFBI) which is, in some ways, a 1995 off -shoot of the Appaloosa Horse Club (ApHC) that was founded in 1938.
The founder of the ApHC, Claude Thompson, remembered seeing the beautiful Nez Perce Indian Appaloosa of his childhood and felt that Arabian blood was the only way to develop the true Appaloosa, so that was the only outcross originally permitted in the ApHC in 1938, which means that many of the foundation Appaloosas already have these genes.
In fact, the spotted or parti-color horse is one of the earliest, identifiably distinct breed types and many examples of this horse pattern appear in ancient paintings of the early Middle East and Egypt, as well as in cave paintings, artwork and other artifacts throughout Europe. Historians say that the spotted horse was of the Arabian breed, which dates back several centuries and that the Appaloosa and the Arabian horses are two of the oldest horse breeds with the Arabian being one of the purest. Because the Arabian has been a distinct breed type for thousands of years, this is important information about what the foundation of the AraAppaloosa looked like and there is no denying that the original Arabian was spotted.
Spotline purebred Arabian horses can be traced to the parti-colored purebreds of the Arabian Desert that had white spots or other spotting along with white sclera, some mottled skin and/or striped hooves, all of which are characteristics that make the Appaloosa breed unique. Although some experts do not agree that these characteristics on an Arabian horse are the result of Appaloosa genes, it is generally agreed that the genes that produce such color features certainly complement the Appaloosa. The AraAppaloosa also displays the "leopard" or "Lp" gene and therefore must have one of the color patterns found on the Appaloosa horse, such as tobiano, overo, and sabino. The gene for roan is also useful in attaining the optimum color in the AraAppaloosa.
The AAFBI supports those breeders who cross Arabian bloodlines into their foundation-based Appaloosa breeding stock, creating what they consider to be the original type of Appaloosa horse since the backgrounds of the both the Arab have much in common. AraAppaloosa breeders are trying to keep alive the true type of the Appaloosa as a refined, elegant, athletic and colorful horse with the AraAppaloosa of today being considered a re-establishment of the best examples of the Appaloosa breed as originally developed by the Nez Perce people of the Pacific Northwest in the 18th and 19th centuries.
So, an AraAppaloosa with one purebred Arabian parent may be registered as a half-Arabian with the Arabian Horse Association. Additionally, since the Appaloosa breed still has an open stud book to horses of Arabian breeding, many AraAppaloosas can also be registered with the Appaloosa Horse Club (ApHC). However, they also have their own organization, the AraAppaloosa and Foundation Breeders' International, where they can now be registered as their own breed, so it is not unusual to find an AraAppaloosa that has been triple registered.
The AraAppaloosa averages between 14 and 15 hands high and have the general physical conformation of the Arabian horse, including the refined head, the high-carried tail and the overall elegance. The overall impression of an AraAppaloosa will be that of a more refined build than the more common type of modern Appaloosa that has a high percentage of American Quarter Horse breeding which means that the AraAppaloosa is usually lighter and more athletic than the Appaloosa.
Like both the Arabian and the Appaloosa, the AraAppaloosa horse has considerable endurance, sure-footedness, intelligence and a fiery and spirited temperament. With the careful blending of the bloodlines of these two breeds, a most amazing AraAppaloosa can be produced.
With the future of the AraAppaloosa leaning more toward sporthorse competition, many horses are now participating in endurance racing, 3-day eventing and dressage. The AraAppaloosa is a fine Appaloosa of great Arabian quality; with all the color, elegance, performance ability, and stamina that one could want.