Appaloosa are popular western horses: their square build and well-muscled hindquarters allow for quick acceleration and agile movements, making them ideal horses for western sport. But not only their physical characteristics inspire western riders, their nature has also adapted to the needs of western sport. Because Appaloosa are willing to work, extremely people-oriented and at the same time very calm and relaxed – even a herd of cows doesn’t unsettle the horses with their strong character. They are always friendly and show a great deal of perseverance.
These characteristics are not only in demand in Western sports: Appaloosas are also popular as leisure and family horses, and even young and inexperienced riders usually feel extremely comfortable on the sociable and relaxed horses. With strong nerves and a high degree of reliability, they cut a fine figure among both experienced tournament riders and beginners.
Appaloosas are not only convincing in western sports: the robust, resilient and athletic horses also know how to assert themselves in show jumping and dressage.
Visually, Appaloosas are particularly noticeable because of their unusual coat pattern, which often shows the pattern of a tiger pattern. Drawings include Malayan Tiger, Snowflake, Roan, Frost, Leopard, Near Leopard, Few Spot, Whiteborn, and Snowcap. In addition to their fur, the Appaloosa’s skin is also spotted, which can result in colorful hooves, for example. This mottled skin can be seen on less hairy areas, such as the nostrils or eyes.
Genetic diseases can occur in American horses due to various crossings. They include the muscle disorders hyperkalemic periodic paralysis and polysaccharide storage myopathy. Genetic tests can help to detect them early.
History of the Appaloosa
Appaloosa are originally descended from Spanish horses and were probably brought to the American continent by Spanish conquerors in the 15th century. Here some of the Spanish horses ran wild and mingled with the wild horses of America, which were captured by the Indians, among others.
The Nez Percé Native American tribe of Idaho bred the horses with the unusual coat pattern. However, the tribe had to bow to the white men and lost almost all of their possessions. When the Nez Percé fled, a large number of the horses lost their lives.
The few horses that survived were used for breeding from 1938, bringing the Appaloosa population to 500,000 by the late 20th century. The brightly colored horses first came to Germany in 1975, but quickly became very popular here too: as early as 1978, the association “Appaloosa-Pferdestammbuch Deutschland e. V.” was founded.
Today, American horses are bred all over the world and used in many different ways.
Interesting and worth knowing
You can see Appaloosa mainly in western films. For example, in the 1966 classic western El Dorado, John Wayne rides an Appaloosa named Cochise.
Another 1966 Western film where Appaloosa can be seen is Southwest to Sonora. In the film, Mett Fletcher, played by Marlon Brando, wants to start a new life by breeding his Appaloosa stallion, Cojo Rojo, near the Mexican border town of Ojo Prieto. However, conflicts arise and Fletcher’s stallion is stolen. In classic western style, Fletcher tries to get his horse back.
An Appaloosa also stars in the acclaimed 2010 western film True Grit: LeBoeuf’s horse Cowboy – played by Matt Damon – is an Appaloosa. The film is about a 14-year-old girl who wants to avenge her father’s death. In addition to Matt Damon, Hollywood greats such as Jeff Bridges, Josh Brolin and Domhnall Gleeson also star in True Grit. Directed by the popular and award-winning Coen brothers.
Additionally, an Appaloosa is the mascot of the Florida State Seminoles athletic team at Florida State University, which is Osceola the Native American and his horse Renegade.
Every horse is unique, no matter what breed it belongs to. And no matter how long or short the pedigree is, every horse has similar needs, such as those for food, exercise, and social contact. These must be satisfied in order to enable a happy horse life. However, depending on what the breed of horse was originally bred for, there are many different characteristics: some are bred to be sport horses and need more exercise than others, and some are more leisurely workhorses.
Just remember that the division into draft, warm-blooded and thoroughbreds is made primarily on the basis of temperament. With our horses, too, it always depends on the individual creature. Because not all Shire Horse are strong-nerved giants and not every Arabian is a tenacious racer.
Care and nutrition
It doesn’t matter whether you own a large draft horse or a small pony: every horse needs a certain amount of care to stay healthy. The hooves in particular require your special attention. You can read about what you should consider here in the tips for proper horse care.
You also strengthen your bond with your four-legged friend with regular grooming. Finally, nibbling each other’s fur is a common social interaction between horses.