It’s not uncommon to find spotted horses around every now and then. If you’re a horse person, it might interest you to know that plenty images of spotted horses have been discovered by archeologists on prehistoric cave walls.
A common breed of the spotted horse is the Appaloosa horse. For centuries, the Appaloosa horse has won the hearts of horse lovers, with its impeccable appearance, explicit disposition, and their ability to adapt to harsh conditions.
Nonetheless, the Appaloosa horse has survived many extreme challenges that’s threatened it’s very existence due to the dispersion and displacement of the Native Americans that breed originated from.
Breeders have struggled to ensure the Appaloosa horse continues to exist, hence the establishment of the “Appaloosa Horse Club”, which is the international registry for horse breeds.
The club was founded in 1938, and it has help to ensure that the Appaloosa horse stays. It has also become more popular throughout Europe and North America.
History and origins
The Nez Perce tribe are responsible for the development of the Appaloosa horse. The Northwest American tribe were sure to observe and follow strict breeding rules that birthed a horse that was not only tractable and intelligent, but was equally beautiful.
Appaloosa horse got its name from where it was created: the Palouse river region. The galant horses were likened to as the “Palouse river horses,” which ultimately became “Appaloosas.”
The Nez Perces’ breeding brand originated from Spanish horses that gain entry into the Americas as far back as the 16th century. Sadly, the United States government were responsible for almost wiping the breed out when they attempted to take over the native’s territory.
This forced tribe members to seek refuge over the Canadian border while trying to protect all they had. They had no choice but to surrender when their attempt at escaping didn’t work, and also because they couldn’t find sanctuary in Canada.
They lost all they had as their possessions were seized. Most of their horses were either slaughtered or taken. Interest in the breed was ignited during the the Great Depression.
Few of the surviving horses were then used to breed the Appaloosas horse. The AHC (Appaloosa Horse Club) was founded in 1938 and has since oversaw the breed’s survival since then. During this period, the Appaloosa horse has also become the third largest horse breed registry on the globe.
There is not particular standard for body type, since there is a broad variation among Appaloosa horse breed.
Subsequently, when Appaloosas are crossbred with American Quarter Horses, they become stocky cow-horse types, when others become more primitive and racy.
Size and Lifespan
The Appaloosa horse can stand between 14.2 and 15 hands high. They averagely weight from 950 to 1,200 pounds.
Under normal healthy conditions, the breed can live up to 30 long years. This strong breed function best when the condition favors them. They aren’t too demanding when special care is required, but it’s best to be cautious when caring for the Appaloosa horse.
It is best to protect areas of their body that can be exposed to sunburn using sunblocks.
A fly mask for their eyes that is prone to watering. This helps to keep flies away from their eyes causing infections and irritations that may ultimately cause damage to the retina if unattended to.
Appaloosas that have the gene responsible for specific traits can sometimes have congenital stationary night blindness (CSNB). Affected at birth, these horses have bad or no night vision.
A vet ophthalmologist be proceed for a vision test to determine if a horse is suffering from the eye condition by using an ERG (electroretinogram).
Uses of the Appaloosa horse
The Appaloosa horse has been bred to do almost anything; can cover long-distance trail riding, rodeo events, racing, working cattle and many other sports that involves horse racing, especially in western countries.
Appaloosas were used by the Nez Pierce for transport, battle and hunting. The Appaloosa horse is a breed that is completely loyal and gentle, making it one admirable companion.
Color and markings of the Appaloosa horse
The theme color of the Appaloosa horse can be blue roan, red roan, bay roan, gray, chestnut, palomino, grulla, cremello/perlino, buckskin, fun, bay, dark bay, or brown.
Patterns and facial colors may include blaze, bald, snip, star, and stripe. The legs may be beautified with pattern, eel, coroner, half-pattern, stocking, lighting marks, half-stocking, and ankle.
The skin of this beauties is mottled, with dark and bright patches of pigmentation that appear as splotches. Depending on the genetic makeup of the Appaloosa, the marks may appear across the body in some noticeable patterns.
Some of the recognized coat patterns by the registry include;
- Leopard pattern: This features a white body, with dark spots similar to a leopard’s.
- Blanket pattern: Appaloosa with blanket patterns have their haunches speckled with dark or white spots.
- Marbleized pattern: Dark and white hair join to appear mottled. Frost-white hairs form flecks that run throughout the dark colors.
- Snowflakes pattern: The Appaloosa’s dark body has white flecks design, and is even more prevalent around the upper thigh, buttocks, and hip.
Appaloosas with solid colors can be registered as “appendix” because they may be carriers of coat pattern genes and not display that specific pattern themselves.
Most Appaloosas tails and manes are typically sparse. Places with little hair on the body like the muzzle are mottled, with hooves that are often striped dark and white.
Rare qualities of the Appaloosa Horse
Asides it’s eye-catching coat that beats most horses, the Appaloosa’s agility and hardiness are traits worthy of admiration. The horse is loyal to its owner, and is equally gentle to handle.
It is unusual to see striping that Appaloosa has on their hooves on other breeds. This strip draws vertically, with a peculiar patterned dark and noticeably white on each hoof.
The possible combinations of spotting, tail, base color, mane and hoof pattern and coloring are unimaginably limitless. This gives each Appaloosa a specific appearance that has no match.
Would you choose an Appaloosa horse?
For beginning equestrians, the Appaloosa horse is a good choice. This gentle horse is also perfect for people seeking devoted breeds. It is also a low-maintenance breed that can survive almost anything.
Do you have an Appaloosa horse? Would you like to get one? Any personal experiences with this beautiful breed? Share with us in the comments.