The Appaloosa horse is best known for its distinctive and beautiful spotted coat. This breed of horse is associated with the Nez Perce Native American tribe. This tribe was instrumental in the development of the breed. In 1995 the Nez Perce tribe began a breeding program for Appaloosas in an attempt to develop a distinct Nez Perce breed of horse. It is estimated that there are more than 650,000 Appaloosas registered in the United States with the ApHC (Appaloosa Horse Club.) When most people think of this breed, they immediately think of a spotted coat. However, there are more features that define these beautiful horses.
This breed has mottled skin that is most easily seen at the muzzle and eye area. The eyes feature a portion of visible white sclera, which is a white ring around the eye. Striped hooves are another distinctive characteristic. Most people think horses can only have brown eyes, but the truth is this breed of horse can have brown, hazel, or even blue eyes. It is not unheard of for some of these horses to feature two different colored eyes. The mane and tail on this breed of horse is of moderate thickness and length.
Body types vary among the breed and include sport horses, stock horses, trail horses, and even racehorses. The most important defining traits are the spotted coat and the bloodline of the horse. The coat color comes in many variations including black, brown, chestnut, palomino, dun, and white. The speckled or spotted areas are of a contrasting color. You will often see a horse that is primarily one color, such as chestnut, with a large white area of the coat that is mottled with chestnut spots. The distinctive coat spotting is certainly why many people love this breed so much.
It is not unheard of for this breed to be crossbred. Arabian horses are commonly bred with these spotted beauties to produce desirable characteristics. Crossbred horses are becoming more and more popular with today’s modern breeders and enthusiasts. Whether you go for a purebred Appaloosa or a crossbred one, you will love the beauty, strength, and intelligence of your new horse. This breed can be used for a variety of purposes. They make great companion horses as well as show horses. They are good on forest trails and ideal for ranch work. You will find many breeders around the nation who sell this breed of horse.