Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Appaloosa - A Great Equine

If horses are kept inside in a barn, they require regular daily exercise for their physical health and mental well-being. Some scholars believe the Spanish Conquistadors brought some vividly-marked horses with them when they first arrived in the early 1500s, others believe that the Russian fur-traders brought them at a later date. The Nez Perce obtained their original horses from the Shoshone people, and from there took advantage of the fact that they lived in notable horse-breeding country, relatively safe from the raids of other tribes, and developed strict breeding selection practices for their horses. The earliest evidence horses with a spotted coat pattern is from the cave paintings dating from the Upper Paleolithic era, circa 18,000 BC found at Lascaux and Peche-Merle in France. The Nez Perce tribe of the American Pacific Northwest developed the breed. The Nez Perce people were a relatively peaceful nation, a high amount of of whom engaged in agriculture as well as horse breeding.

In any case, the Nez Perce had a high amount of spotted horses by the late 1800s when they once again came to the attention of the rest of the world. The encroachment of gold miners in the 1860s and settlers in the 1870s put pressure on the tribe to give up much of their land, and various treaties between 1855 and 1863 reduced their original treaty lands of seven million acres by 90%.
A similarly spotted breed in Europe, with a sport equine build, is the Knabstrup. All ApHC-registered Appaloosas must be the offspring of two registered Appaloosa parents or a registered Appaloosa and a equine friend from an approved breed registry. The middle of the road "stock equine friend" build is well suited to western horsemanship disciplines such as cutting, reining, rodeo and O-Mok-See sports such as barrel racing (Camas Prairie Stump Race) and pole bending (Nez Percé Stake Race) as well as short-length equine friend racing, generally at the quarter-mile distance. The breeding program was financed by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the Nez Perce tribe, and the First Nations Development Institute, a nonprofit organization that promotes tribal business development. The Appaloosa Museum foundation was formed in 1975 to preserve the history of the Appaloosa equine. The physical conformation of the original Appaloosa was typical of the range horses found in the western United States.
Appaloosa markings overlay the base coat color, and have several pattern variations.
The preface of the ApHC rule book states that the Appaloosa is "a breed defined by ApHC bloodline requirements and preferred characteristics, including coat pattern. The Nez Perce tribe once again began a breeding program in 1995 to develop a distinct breed, the Nez Perce Equine friend. The registry was originally housed in Moro, Oregon, then in 1947 moved to Moscow, Idaho. Today, the Appaloosa breed is one of America's most in favor breeds and there are over 670,000 Appaloosas registered by the ApHC.
Andy McMellan writes for the bi-monthy newsletter American Horse Care. It contains useful information on horses and horseback riding.

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