8 Fascinating Facts About The Appaloosa

Last Updated on February 21, 2022 by Allison Price

Appaloosas are well-known for their gorgeous spots. But there’s so much more to this beautiful horse. This horse is an American breed, which was developed by the Nez Perce. These are 8 other facts about Appaloosas.

#1- They are the state horse in Idaho.

1975 saw the Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus sign legislation to name the Appaloosa the State Horse. Idaho was also the first to offer a custom license plate with a state horse.

#2- These two have three things in common, other than their spots.

Eyes with a white sclera; mottled skin around the eyes, muzzle, anus and genitalia; stripes hooves; Although these three traits are not unique to Appaloosas, most have at least two. Appaloosa horses don’t have their whites exposed unless they are rolling their eyes back. This makes this trait even more rare.

#3: The coat color combines a base color and an overlaid pattern.

Base colors are bay, black and chestnut. The markings come in many different patterns. The spots are often placed on darker skin. They are usually surrounded by a “halo” – where the skin around the spot is darkened but the hair over it is light.

#4: It’s impossible to predict the color of a mature Appaloosa at birth.

Appaloosa foals are not always born with classic leopard complex characteristics. This is because many horse breeds have a tendency to change their colors over time. Appaloosas born with snowflake and varnish roan patterns are most likely to not show their true colors at birth.

Facts About The Appaloosa

Are you interested in learning more about another horse breed? You can find our most popular article 8 Interesting Facts About the Quarter Horse.

#5: The Nez Perce people were exceptional horse breeders.

They lived in western Idaho, Oregon, and eastern Washington. They gelded inferior horses, and traded them for better stock to improve the breed. They were well-known as horse breeders in the 19th century.

#6: The horses were called “Palouse horses”, by the settlers…

…referring to the Palouse River which ran through Nez Perce country. Over time, the name was changed to include Appalucy and Apalousy before Appaloosa was settled.

#7: Appaloosas are used often in Western movies and television series.

Cojo Rojo from Marlon Brando’s film “The Appaloosa,” Zip Cochise riding by John Wayne in 1966 film “El Dorado,” Cowboy, Matt Damon’s mount in “True Grit” are just a few examples.

#8: The Nez Perce were sedentary fishermen before the horse was introduced.

Their culture was forever changed by the introduction of horses. Their hunting skills, craftsmanship, and horse breeding soon made them famous in the Northwest. They moved more freely, selling their stone communities houses in exchange for tipis.

Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!