Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Appaloosa are Spot On

Appaloosas are best known for their spots.  The spots these horses sport vary from little pointillism dots to large blotches, or blankets,  in pretty much every color horses come in.

Cro-Magnon man drew pictures of spotted horses on cave walls.  Chinese Art from 500 BC displays horses with spots.  Greek and Persian heroes were said to ride beautiful spotted horses.

Spanish Conquistadors brought some of these horses to the New World in the 1500's.  The Nez Perce' tribe of the Pacific Northwest bred what they called the Palousy- named for a small river that flows into the Snake River in Southeastern Washington.  The Nez Perce' needed horses to help hunt buffalo.  That job required a quick, agile, brave and cooperative horse.  The Palousy was well suited to the job.  Their attractive appearance was a happy extra.  These selectively bred horses are considered the foundation of the Appaloosa. 

In the 1800's, the Indian Wars wiped out many of the horses.  In 1938 the Appaloosa Horse Club was formed to protect and preserve the breed.

Some Appaloosa Qualities

- height: 14.2-16 hands

- four general coat patterns:  blanket, spots, blanket with spots, and roan

-  the coat patterns are further described:  leopard, snowflake, frosted, marble

- the skin is mottled (spotted),  this is most noticeable on the genitals, muzzle and around the eyes

- white sclera- the white area encircling the iris of the eye is visible

- vertically striped hooves

Appaloosas are prized not only for their beauty but for their hardiness and versatility.  The Appaloosa is described as calm, gentle, sweet tempered, fast, docile, and enthusiastic- just to name a few of the compliments heaped on this splendid horse. 

The Appaloosa is adept in both western and eastern applications.  Here's a list of Appaloosa accomplishments:

pleasure riding
harness horse
barrel racing
distance competition
middle distance  (220 yards/ 8 furlongs) racing
service horses for the handicapped
mounted police

for more information:

see some nice pictures:


  1. When I was 12, I had an Appaloosa colt--a beautiful little guy with a penchant for mischief. His sire was named Cheyenne, his dam was I named him Comanche.

    1. Norma, I'll bet you had some glorious adventures with Comanche!

  2. Beautiful horses but I'm horrorified to sit on one. Tried to once....

  3. My sister-in-law has a couple of horses, but neither of them would be of this sort...

  4. I absolutely love horses. It's been far too long since I've gone riding!