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Appaloosa horse - Indian breed raised by Native Americans

Published: 2022-09-12 11:29:57 Categories: Guides Rss feed

Appaloosa horse is an Indian descendant of Mustang, bred in North America. It is keenly used for bison hunting, as a war horse in fights between Native tribes, and for cattle grazing. Nowadays, it is the most popular race in the USA.

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Appaloosa horse - breed history

Horses that originated this race were brought to the area of today’s United States (the so-called New World) by Spanish conquistadors, who conquered these lands.

In the 18th century, by mixing with a local race – Mustang, a new horse bred by the Nez-Percé (“Pierced Noses” from French) tribe emerged in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon in North America. The breeding gathered mostly spotted horses. Nez Percé occupied (among others) terrains by Palouse River, where the name of the horses is derived from.

In 1860, gold was found on Nez Percé’s grounds, in the basin of Snake River. Soon, the area was attacked, and one of the tribe’s villages was destroyed to make a place for Lewiston town. The Nez Percé tribe fled, trying to avoid extinction at the hands of white invaders and only a few horses survived. The ones that did survive were taken away from the Natives and gave rise to a small population of the breed in 1938 due to Claude Thompson’s initiative. In order to gentrify the breed, the Appaloosa mares were crossbred with quarter horses and Folblut steeds. The current breeding has 500 thousand horses.

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The Appaloosa race today is the most popular and liked breed in the United States of America. The mentioned before Idaho state has become a certain “capital” of the breed – in Moscow, there is an information center about the race and the headquarters of Appaloosa Horse Club that takes care of the race’s purity.

Currently, the breeding of this race is centered in the US. Small breeding may be found also on other continents.

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Appaloosa horse - build and characteristics

Appaloosa horses are lean and strong. Their bodies can be drawn on a square, of which the corners are the middle of the line: shoulder-neck, the highest part of the croup, end of the rear, and front legs (see picture below).

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A small, dry, broad head with small ears set on an average-long and strong neck is very characteristic of the race. The shoulder blades are diagonal, the withers line is pretty weak, and the back is wide, short, and strong. An Appaloosa horse’s chest is broad and deep, which makes his gait comfortable for the rider. The croup is pretty steep and muscly. This breed often has too delicate limbs that are dry, well-built, and with visible joints. They often have steep fetlocks.

What sets Appaloosa horses apart is small, hard, springy hooves with striped walls, which are responsible for the horses’ resilience. Additionally, they have a characteristically thin mane and tail, spotted skin on the muzzle, and white sclera (as with people), namely the part of the eye around the iris. The last feature of the breed is the vertically striped hoof wall.

Height: 145-160 cm

Body weight: 450-500 kg

Coat - color:

There are five main types of spotting of Appaloosa horses:

  • Leopard – dominant type of coat – dark spots on bright fur,
  • Snowflakes – bright spots on dark fur,
  • White rug – back and croup white, rest black,
  • Spotted rug – back and croup white, spotted, rest dark,
  • Marbled – spotted pattern in the shape of uneven bright marks, sometimes overlapping

Within the listed types, there are many patterns, e.g. Blue Roan – which is a different kind of the Leopard type.

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Appaloosa horses - use

Appaloosa horses were used by Native Americans for bison hunting, but also as quick war horses. Soon, the breed was also appreciated by white people, who used them as aids for cattle grazing.

Appaloosa horses are very durable and quick, which is why they are keenly used as western horses.

This breed is also recommended as recreational horses because of their versatility, kindness, and obedience.

Appaloosa horse - price

The price of an Appaloosa horse, as with any other race, depends on the pet’s health, line, abilities, achievements, and age. The average price is about 4-5 thousand dollars. The most expensive horses of that breed can cost even 10 thousand dollars.

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Appaloosa horses are known for their spotted coat and are associated with western movies, but also with Native tribes of the USA. Formerly, helping with bison hunting, cattle grazing, and tribe wars, today are perfect for western competitions, skillfully dealing with tasks.