Appaloosa horse breed information
The Appaloosa is symmetrical, smooth, and proportional; head is straight and lean showing partly-colored skin about the nostrils and lips and sometimes around the outside of eyes; forehead is wide; sclera of eyes is white, giving the eye prominence and adding distinctiveness to the head's appearance; ears are pointed and of medium size; neck shows quality, a clean cut throat latch and large windpipe blending into a deep chest and long sloping shoulders; withers are prominent and well defined; forearm is well muscled, long, wide, and tapered down to a broad knee; cannons are short, wide, flat, ending in smooth, wide, and strong supported fetlocks.
Pastern should be long and sloping with the hoof being rounded, deep, open, and wide at the heel; back is short and straight; loin is short and wide; underline is long with the flank well let down; hips are smoothly covered, being muscular, long, and sloping; blending into well-rounded quarters; gaskins are long, wide, and muscular extending to clean, clearly defined, wide, straight hocks; back feet are a little more narrow than the front feet with a wide and high heel.
The ideal Appaloosa should have, among other attributes, a deep but not excessively wide chest, well defined, prominent withers, and length and slope to the pastern, shoulders, and hips. A thin or sparse mane and tail are very typical of the Appaloosa breed and should never be held against the horse.
The Appaloosa Horse Club describes five basic coat patterns: Leopard - Large dark spots completely covering a white body, Snowflake - a dark body with light spots or speckles, Marble - A light coat covered in small dark speckles, Frost - A dark coat covered in small light speckles, and Blanket - White on hips and/or loins. Darker spots may or may not appear on the white blanket. However, some appaloosa's are 'solid,' meaning that they do not have any coat pattern.
Their height ranges from 14 to 16 hands (56 to 64 inches, 142 to 163 cm).
They weight ranges from 950 to 1,250 pounds (430 to 570 kg).
Appaloosas are very versatile having great endurance and excellent dispositions. Although they can be stubborn, most Appaloosas are extremely intelligent and willing.
The Spanish introduced horses to Mexico in the 1500s. Following the Pueblo Revolt, horses rapidly spread throughout North America, reaching the Northwest around 1700. The Nez Perce tribe became excellent horsemen and breeders, creating large herds renowned for their strength, intelligence and beauty.
Prior to the introduction of the horse, the Nez Perce were sedentary fishers. Horses gave the tribes greater mobility and power, altering their culture forever. Soon, the Nez Perce were famous throughout the Northwest for their hunting skills and craftsmanship. These skills allowed the Nez Perce to trade for necessary goods and services. With their superior horses they had little difficulty killing what buffalo they needed. Soon they began to use the Plains-type tipi in place of their old community houses… Heavy stone mortars and similar burdensome possessions were either discarded entirely, or left at the fishing spots for occasional use.
Famous explorer Meriwether Lewis was appropriately impressed with the breeding accomplishments of the Nez Perce, as noted in his diary entry from February 15, 1806.
Their horses appear to be of an excellent race; they are lofty, eligantly [sic] formed, active and durable… some of these horses are pided with large spots of white irregularly scattered and intermixed with black, brown, bey [sic] or some other dark color.
It is unknown how many of the Nez Perce’s horses were spotted, but a possible estimate is ten percent. Settlers coming into the area began to refer to these spotted horses as "A Palouse Horse", as a reference to the Palouse River, which runs through Northern Idaho. Over time, the name evolved into "Palousey", "Appalousey", and finally "Appaloosa".
In the mid-1800s, settlers flooded onto the Nez Perce reservation, and conflicts soon ensued. The Nez Perce War of 1877 resulted in their herds being dispersed.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, interest in the breed gradually began to grow as Appaloosas began appearing in Western roundups and rodeos.
The Appaloosa’s flashy coat patterns caught the eye of the public, and in 1937 an article in Western Horseman entitled "The Appaloosa, or Palouse Horse" revealed a widespread interest in the breed.
With the goal of preserving and improving the Appaloosa breed, the Appaloosa Horse Club was chartered in 1938. From those first few enthusiasts, the Club has grown into one of the leading equine breed registries in the world.
Appaloosa genetic diseases
Appaloosas have an eightfold greater risk of developing Equine Recurrent Uveitis (ERU) than all other breeds combined. Up to 25% of all horses with ERU may be Appaloosas. Uveitis in horses has many causes, including eye trauma, disease, and bacterial, parasitic and viral infections, but ERU is characterized by recurring episodes of uveitis, rather than a single incident. If not treated, ERU can lead to blindness, which occurs more often in Appaloosas than in other breeds. Up to 80% of all uveitis cases are found in Appaloosas, with physical characteristics including light colored coat patterns, little pigment around the eyelids and sparse hair in the mane and tail denoting more at-risk individuals. Researchers may have identified a gene region containing an allele that makes the breed more susceptible to the disease.
Appaloosas that are homozygous for the leopard complex or "Lp gene" are also at risk for congenital stationary night blindness (CSNB). This form of night blindness has been linked with the leopard complex since the 1970s. CSNB is a disorder that causes an affected animal to completely lack night vision, although day vision is normal. It is an inherited disorder, present from birth, and does not progress over time. A 2008 study theorizes that both CSNB and leopard complex spotting patterns are linked to the gene TRPM1.
Appaloosa health issues
In 2007, the ApHC implemented new drug rules which will allow Appaloosas to show with the drugs furosemide, known by the trade name of Lasix, and acetazolamide. Furosemide is used to prevent horses who bleed from the nose when subjected to strenuous work from having bleeding episodes when in competition, and is widely used in horse racing. Acetazolamide ("Acet") is used for treating horses with the genetic disease hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP), and prevents affected animals from having seizures. Acet is only allowed for horses that test positive for HYPP and have HYPP status noted on their registration papers. The ApHC recommends that Appaloosas that trace to certain American Quarter Horse bloodlines be tested for HYPP, though testing is not mandatory, and owners have the option to choose to place HYPP testing results on registration papers.
Both drugs are controversial in part because they are considered drug maskers and as diuretics which can be used to make it difficult to detect the use of other drugs from the horse's system. For these and other reasons, this rule change has generated controversy. On one side, it is argued that both the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), which sponsors show competition for many different horse breeds, and the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI), which governs international and Olympic Equestrian, competition ban the use of furosemide. On the other side of the controversy, several major stock horse registries that sanction their own shows, including the American Quarter Horse Association, American Paint Horse Association, and the Palomino Horse Breeders' of America, allow acetazolamide and furosemide to be used with 24 hours of showing under certain circumstances.
Appaloosa interesting facts
On March 25, 1975 Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus signed a bill naming the Appaloosa as the state horse. This is a deserving honor for a horse that has been an integral part of Idaho history.
Appaloosa Horse Club, 2720 W Pullman Rd, Moscow
Meucci Ranch, 1594 Victoria Road, Byhalia, MS 38611
WindWalker Appaloosas, Canada, Alberta, Leduc