Ride Around the World Horse: The Appaloosa of Oregon
In the spirit of this year's Ridefest theme, "Ride Around the World," we're going to explore a horse breed from across the world each week.
Environment: Cool temperate
Origin: 18th century
The spotted gene in horses is as old as the equine race, but the credit for the development of a distinctive spotted breed, the Appaloosa, has to be given to the Nez Perce Indians of North America who lived in the Pacific Northwest. Their lands included the valley of the Palouse River after which the horses were named.
Breeding: The breed developed in the 18th century, and was founded on the Spanish stock brought to the Americas, which included a number of spotted strains. The Nez Perce, who were skillful horse breeders, practiced strict selection policies. The result of their care was an unmistakable workhorse which was attractively colored and essentially practical. In 1877, the tribe and its horses were almost exterminated as United States troops seized the tribal lands. However, the breed was revived in 1938 when the Appaloosa Horse Club was formed in Moscow, Idaho. Its registry is now the third largest in the world.
Characteristics: The present-day Appaloosa is a stock and pleasure horse that is used increasingly for jumping and racing. It is noted for its endurance, stamina, and good temperament. There are five recognized Appaloosa coat patterns: Blanket, marble, leopard, snowflake, and frost.
Edwards, Elwyn Hartley; Langrish, Bob (PHT). “Appaloosa.” Smithsonian Handbooks Horses, Dk Pub., pp. 196–197.