The Appaloosa: all you need to know about this breed of horse


Symbolizing the Wild West, the Appaloosa is distinguished by its dress spotted. This breed of horse – which demonstrated its bravery during the war between the Cowboys and the Indians – owes its survival to the action of passionate breeders. Close-up of a loyal and enduring mount.

The origins of the Appaloosa

Like the Paint Horse or the Quarter Horse, the Appaloosa comes from horses introduced by the Spanish settlers. From 1700, equines arrived in the American Northwest (Oregon, Idaho and Washington), territory of the Nez-Perce Indians. The tribe quickly developed know-how in selection and the use of horses. The qualities sought then were power, endurance and speed but the Indians also appreciated her colorful dress and her little horsehair (which could represent a difficulty in ground strewn with brambles).

Rescue of the Appaloosa

The last name Appaloosa did not appear until the end of the 19th century.e century in reference to the Palouse River, located in Idaho. In 1877, the defeat of Indian chief Chief Joseph and his Nez Perce people resulted in the capture andburst livestock then left in the wild or sold. The extinction of the breed was avoided when at the beginning of the XXe century, some enthusiasts set out in search of descendants horses with a sufficient number of characteristics to breed them. The Appaloosa Stud-Book was founded in 1938.

Two types of Appaloosa

There are two types of Appaloosa: the model modern and the model foundation. If the physique of the first is closer to the Quarter Horse, the second is very similar to the specimens owned by the Indians. The Appaloosa is a type saddle horse midline. In general, the equine has a strong bone structure, a body compact, a medium neckline and a deep chest. Its broad and short back displays a prominent withers. Its limbs are strong and powerful and its head is small and fine. The Appaloosa usually measures 1.45 m to 1.65 m at the withers and weighs 450 to 700 kg.

The specificities of Appaloosa

The Appaloosa has 4 characteristics specific to the breed:

  • Around the eyes, nostrils and genitals are mottled;
  • The white of the eye (sclera) is clearly visible;
  • The hooves are striated;
  • The dress is colorful.

The Appaloosa breed is known for its dress original which offers a wide variety of colors and especially stains singular. These can be of different types: cape, leopard, polka dots, snowflakes… This characteristic is however not obligatory and a quarter of the foals are born “solid” (united). The combinations There are multiple possible base colors, spots, manes, tails, hooves and patterns, giving each Appaloosa a unique appearance.

The Appaloosa, a horse with good character

The Appaloosa is a horse docile with a gentle character but who knows how to be lively and responsive when asked. Historically used at war, this courageous and brave animal knows how to be calm and close to man. It is renowned for its agility, maneuverability, speed and endurance. Safe in their approach, friendly, endowed with a balanced temperament, these horses are a pleasant mount for all riders, including beginners.

Specialized in western riding

Along with the Quarter Horse and the Paint Horse, the Appaloosa is one of the horse breeds dedicated to western riding (Reining, Barrel Racing, trail, cutting…) But its versatility allows it to try out different disciplines: outdoor riding as well in leisure as in competition, endurance, hiking equestrian (TREC). Even if they are not his favorite fields, dressage, show jumping and eventing may suit him. In the United States, a popular activity with Appaloosas is the race over short and medium distances (200 to 1,600 meters). The horse is also used on the ranches for the work of the cattle.

The Appaloosa, a legendary breed

In France, the breed was recognized by the National Haras in 1997 (one of the two parents must himself be an Appaloosa). Among the stallions founders of the breed, one can quote Knobby, born in 1918, a roan blue stallion adorned with a stained band on the hips; Sundance F500, born in 1933 in the mountains of northern Colorado, a spotted Appaloosa stallion leopard ; or Red Eagle, partially Arab, died in 1971 at the age of 27 (it was then common to reproduce the Appaloosa with other breeds of light horses in order to regain the original form). This Far West horse, which takes us back to the time of the Indians and cowboys, often appears in the westerns. Beyond films, the Appaloosa is present in popular culture through many books and works of art. The mount is also the star of comics such as Yakari and Lucky Luke.

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